Tesla Model S P100D Sets Laguna Lap Record

Watch Lucid Air Set Laguna Lap Record Source: Electric Vehicle News The accomplishment has shed light on a previous claim of record-setting by the Randy Pobst in the Jaguar I-Pace, that wasn’t really a record at all. And that’s not even the oddest thing about this entire situation. Let’s look at the sequence of events.In August, Jaguar partnered with Motor Trend, and with Pobst as pilot, recorded a time of 1:48.18 around the iconic circuit in the I-Pace. It was a great performance by the electric crossover and press releases were sent out. Problem is, a Tesla Model S put down a 01:47.621 lap on the 1st of July during this year’s edition of the annual Refuel event.The kicker? The driver who achieved the July result was one David Lickfold who, according to his LinkedIn page, is an engineering manager at Lucid Motors involved with chassis and vehicle dynamics.  Wild, right? Here, it is appropriate to note that his employer set their own record of 1:41.67 earlier this month in a prototype of their Air model. Interestingly, the driver for that time is only given as “Lucid Chassis & Vehicle Dynamics engineer” in the official press release, but the accompanying photo seemingly confirms that it was also Lickfold.In any case, it would seem that the production record is now held by what is said to be a “completely stock Model S P100D.” The only question remaining is how, exactly, it was achieved. While we recognize Bouret is a skilled driver, he is probably not the only factor that led to such a huge difference in lap times. Tesla continuously improves their vehicles instead of issuing distinct model years and they don’t always trumpet those changes, so we suspect more recent builds may have had some improvements to their software and/or hardware. We’ve asked the company for information that might shed light on this accomplishment and will update this post when we hear back. Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on September 17, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News Breaks the Jaguar I-Pace record that never really was.Records, like rules, are made to be broken, and now it appears a Tesla Model S has done just that. The deed — a full lap in 1:43.06 — was apparently done at Laguna Seca (now officially known as WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca) just outside of Monterey, California over the weekend. Word of the feat comes to us from a tweet by Emile Bouret (embedded below), a professional driver who does testing and other wheel work for the California automaker. At the Roadster reveal, he was the man giving the catapult-like test rides.Lapping Laguna Seca, previous records Source: Twitter Jaguar I-Pace Sets Claimed Electric Car Lap Record At Laguna Energica EGO Sets New Laguna Track Record Working with the development engineering team at Tesla during a track day at Laguna Seca, by happenstance, we managed to complete a lap in 1:43.06 with a completely stock Model S P100D, breaking the overall production EV lap record by 5.12 seconds. Happy happenstance, I’d say pic.twitter.com/BrYkNiS9Fx— Emile Bouret (@EBouret) September 17, 2018 read more

Fastned Achieves Network Wide Operational Break Even

Mercedes Electric Trucks Show Up At Fastned Station Fastned tripled its revenues during Q3Good news coming from the Netherlands where Fastned reports a very high growth rate of its business. The company was even able to achieve network-wide operational break even.“In September, the network as a whole surpassed break even on an operational level. All operational costs associated with its stations were covered by revenues.”During the third quarter of 2018, Fastned reports:Revenue: € 352,609 (+199% vs. Q3 2017), on average at €0.50/kWhVolume: 703,491 (kWh) (+187% vs. Q3 2017), on average customers used 55 kWh in Q3Active customers: 12,677 (+165% vs. Q3 2017), on average spent €27.8 in Q3 Source: Electric Vehicle News Fastned fast charging station“To finance further growth Fastned started the issue of a new bonds series today. As in previous rounds the bonds have a maturity of 5 years and pay out 6% interest per annum. Fastned plans to use the proceeds to drive its revenue growth and expand our network of fast charging stations, contributing to its profitability. ”Q3 highlights:Monthly charge sessions surpassed 21,000 in September.Fastned opened three new stations (Wellerzand, Lemsterhop, Paderborn-Mönkeloh), bringing the total number of operational stations to 77.Construction of 15 stations in Germany is in full swing.Fastned continued the installation of next generation fast chargers, allowing electric vehicles to charge up to 175 kW and even 350 kW; up to 100 times faster than at home.On October 8th, Fastned signed an agreement with REWE Region Mitte to build fast charging stations at their supermarkets. A start will be made in 2019 with a pilot at four of their top supermarket locations.As of today (October 11th) Fastned is issuing a new round of retail bonds. The bonds have a maturity of 5 years and pay out 6% interest per annum. The bonds offer everyone an opportunity to participate and invest in the energy transition. Participation is possible from €1,000. Investors can read the prospectus and subscribe via the Fastned website: fastnedcharging.com/bonds Will Tesla Model 3 Be CCS-Ready In Europe? Fastned Hopes So In total, Fastned operates 77 fast charging stations. Another 15 stations are under construction in Germany.14 stations are equipped with total 18 next-generation 175 kW fast chargers (with an option to increase output to 350 kW in the future).Monthly charge sessions surpassed 21,000 in September and the network attracted many new or not yet released EVs:“We see increasing activity of faster charging cars (Jaguar I-pace, Hyundai KONA) at our stations. Car manufacturers are also successfully testing their upcoming cars on our network (Audi e-tron, Porsche Taycan, Daimler e-truck). We are now very confident that big improvements in charge speed and battery size will happen in the coming year.”The next step is to raise more funds for further expansion of the network: Fastned Reports 2018 H1 Results – Delivered Over 1 GWh Of Electricity Fastned results in Q3’2018 Fastned news Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on October 18, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News read more

BMW Profits Decline As Costs Of RD Rises Promises 12 BEVs By

first_imgBy 2021, BMW intends to have five BEVs on the market:BMW i3MINI ElectricBMW iX3 (first based on 5th generation drivetrain)BMW i4BMW iNEXTBy 2025, the number of BEVs will increase to 12. The strategic battery supplier for BMW is CATL.Rigorous expansion of electric mobility With the launch of the BMW i3, the BMW Group established itself early as a pioneer in the field of electric mobility. Electrification is one of the key pillars of the Group’s Strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT. By 2021, the BMW Group will have five all-electric models: the BMW i3, the MINI Electric, the BMW iX3, the BMW i4 and the BMW iNEXT. By 2025, that number is set to grow to at least twelve models. Including plug-in hybrids – whose electrically powered range will increase significantly in the coming year – the BMW Group’s electrified product portfolio will then comprise at least 25 models.This wide range is possible thanks to highly flexible vehicle architectures and an equally flexible global production system. Going forward, the BMW Group will be capable of manufacturing models with all-electric (BEV), hybrid-electric (PHEV) and conventional (ICE) drivetrains on a single production line. Its ability to integrate e-mobility in the production network enables the BMW Group to respond even more flexibly to the increasing demand for electrified vehicles. The goal for the current year is to deliver 140,000 electrified vehicles to customers. By the end of 2019, the BMW Group expects to have more than half a million electrified vehicles on the roads.The BMW Group is currently developing the fifth generation of its electric drivetrain, in which the interplay of electric motor, transmission, power electronics and battery will be additionally optimised. Integrating the electric motor, transmission and power electronics also cuts costs. Another advantage is that the electric motor does not require rare earths, enabling the BMW Group to reduce its dependence on their availability. The fifth generation of the electric drivetrain will be installed for the first time in the BMW iX3 in 2020.At the beginning of the third quarter, the BMW Group signed a long-term contract with the Chinese company Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited (CATL) to supply battery cells with a value of four billion euros. The award of this contract was a decisive factor in CATL’s decision to build the world’s most advanced battery cell manufacturing facility in Germany. From 2021 onwards, cells for the BMW iNEXT – which will be manufactured at the BMW Group plant in Dingolfing – will be supplied by the new CATL plant in Erfurt. The BMW Group has thereby anchored the entire e-mobility value chain in Germany – from battery cell production through to the finished vehicle.One of the prerequisites for expanding e-mobility volumes on this pioneering scale is the ability to efficiently manage the highly sought-after raw materials needed to manufacture the battery cells. In order to ensure security of supply, the BMW Group will in future purchase specific raw materials such as cobalt itself, and then make them available to battery cell suppliers – a strategy that has already proven its worth for aluminium and other resources. In addition, negotiations are being held with suppliers with the aim of concluding long-term agreements for battery raw materials that meet the BMW Group’s sustainability criteria.Furthermore the BMW Group is establishing a joint technology consortium together with Northvolt (a Swedish battery manufacturer) and Umicore (a Belgium-based company engaged in developing battery materials), thereby taking a further step to ensure access to the cell technology so vital for electric mobility. The collaboration will extend to the development of a complete, sustainable value chain for battery cells in Europe, including development, production and ultimately recycling. The recycling of battery components will play a key role: given the sharp rise in demand for battery cells, the consortium’s stated aim is to close the life-cycle loop of raw materials to the greatest possible extent with comprehensive recycling. BMW Gears Up Dingolfing Plant For Battery Production For MINI BEV BMW develops 4 new all-electric carsBMW Group just released Q3 results and as earlier announced, the company is gearing up for rising costs of development (electrified and autonomous cars) that combined with other factors, negatively affect profits.The group delivered in nine months 1,834,810 cars (up 1.3%) and noted €72.5 billion in revenues (down 1.2%), but high levels of upfront expenditure for research and development and other reasons resulted in a net profit of €5.79 billion (down 8.7%).The company sold 97,543 plug-in cars (up 42%) and is on track to sell 140,000 in 2018. BMW news Source: Electric Vehicle Newscenter_img BMW Group, Northvolt & Umicore Develop Life-Cycle Loop For Batteries New BMW 330e iPerformance Coming In 2019 With More Electric Range Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on November 7, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle Newslast_img read more

Nissan LEAF Is Fastest Selling Used Car In UK

first_img32016 Kia Sorento SUV Diesel Automatic1898.87%£23,050 102016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class SUV Diesel Automatic2099.70%£26,947 Here Are The Quickest Selling Used Electric Cars Alternatively-fuelled vehicles are doing well on the second-hand market.These days more than 70 percent of used car buyers are considering an electric car when it comes to their next purchase.Battery-powered vehicles are so popular these days in fact that the Nissan Leaf – the best selling electric car in the world – recently topped the list of fastest-selling used cars in the UK.More On Used Cars 82016 Vauxhall Zafira MPV Petrol Manual19100.84%£10,289 RankMake/ModelAverageDays to sellAveragePrice PositionAverageRetail Price 92016 Peugeot 208 Hatchback Petrol Automatic1998.57%£9,554 12014 Nissan Leaf Hatchback Electric Automatic1799.32%£10,550 The list, published by used car marketplace Auto Trader, covers all kinds of cars. The Leaf came out best taking just 17 days on average to find a new owner, beating the 2016 Mazda CX-5 in diesel manual guise, the 2016 Kia Sorento SUV Diesel Automatic, the 2016 Skoda Octavia Estate Petrol Manual, the 2016 Smart forfour Hatchback Petrol Automatic, and the 2016 Peugeot 108 Convertible Petrol Automatic, all of which took an average of 18 days to sell.As well as the Leaf topping the national chart, alternatively-fuelled cars did well regionally too. In London, 2016 and 2015 variants of the electric-hybrid Mitsubishi Outlander, both automatics, were second and fourth fastest to sell in that area, taking 10 and 14 days to sell respectively. In the South East, the 2018 Toyota C-HR electric hybrid was the tenth fastest selling car, taking an average of 24 days to sell.“An all-electric vehicle making it to the very top of the UK’s fastest selling is really quite significant, and reflects the trends we’re seeing elsewhere. Not only are there record rates of adoption of AFVs in both the new and used car market, but research for our latest Market Report showed that nearly three quarters of car buyers are considering an EV for their next purchase. Mass adoption is a way off yet, but there is clearly a growing shift in perception which will offer huge opportunities for the industry,” said Karolina Edwards-Smajda, Auto Trader’s Director of Commercial Products.“Diesel remains an excellent choice for many drivers, however it looks as though the writing is on the wall for the much-maligned fuel type. It’s shown great resilience, but with the ongoing negative rhetoric surrounding the fuel debate, coupled with high-profile schemes to cut emissions in major cities, such as London’s new Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), it’s future remains uncertain.”The UK’s Top 10 Fastest Selling Used Cars in March 2019 42016 Skoda Octavia Estate Petrol Manual1898.19%£13,437center_img These Used Electric Cars Are Actually Increasing In Value 62016 Peugeot 108 Convertible Petrol Automatic1898.48%£7,140 52016 Smart forfour Hatchback Petrol Automatic18101.25%£8,264 Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on April 20, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News New Study Suggests Buying These EVs Used Saves A Ton Of Money 22016 Mazda CX-5 SUV Diesel Manual1898.37%£15,186 72016 Vauxhall Mokka Hatchback Petrol Automatic1998.72%£10,959 Source: Electric Vehicle Newslast_img read more

Fifa battles Europe on homegrown players

first_imgShare on Facebook Share on Facebook Fifa battles Europe on home-grown players First published on Tue 5 Feb 2008 19.06 EST Share on Twitter Soccer Reuse this content Matt Scott Share on Pinterest Shares00 Soccer Fifa’s announcement yesterday that it will proceed with plans to force through a six-plus-five rule on domestically qualified players is a declaration of war on Uefa and the top European clubs. Uefa’s president, Michel Platini, has often told his Fifa counterpart, Sepp Blatter, that he is opposed to the scheme, in which six players in every club team’s starting line-up would be qualified for the country in which they play, because he is not prepared to fight European Union labour-market law on the matter.Platini fears the plans will explode the good working relationship Uefa has with EU mandarins. “Michel understands where Fifa is coming from but it is illegal,” said William Gaillard, Platini’s special adviser. “He has told Mr Blatter many times, we will not break the law.”Blatter yesterday enlisted the help of Europe’s other stellar football politician, Franz Beckenbauer, to announce his scheme. Beckenbauer is chair of the Fifa football committee and his political ambitions are seen to conflict with Platini’s. “I do not think open markets are the right future for the game,” he said, despite opposition from within his own committee. “You can also be successful with domestic players, and money alone does not guarantee success.”Blatter will push for the introduction of the scheme at Fifa’s congress in Sydney and although Uefa’s rules on home-grown players have broadly met club approval – the Premier League contests them – Fifa’s president will lobby the EU on the merits of his own proposal.BA seals Olympic dealVirgin Atlantic will be forced to withdraw from its £1m-a-year sponsorship in kind for British athletes after British Airways yesterday signed a £40m deal with London 2012 to become its official airline partner. For the past 18 months Virgin has been offering to fly 450 elite British athletes to destinations around the world at discounted rates. “We have a deal in place with Virgin and it has been excellent,” said a spokesman for UK Sport, through whom Virgin’s elite…#8209;athletes partnership was run. “But it was always subject to the agreement of London 2012.” BA will now benefit from what London 2012’s chairman, Lord Coe, yesterday termed “a framework” that provides “protection to all commercial partners to make sure these are proper partnerships”. That relates to the legal guarantees all so…#8209;called “tier…#8209;one” partners receive from London’s organising committee, which ensure only they will have access to Team GB Olympians.Arsenal open for businessArsenal’s integrity as the last major Premier League club not in foreign hands will be the subject of doubt at the end of this month when Alisher Usmanov’s “no-bid” period expires. Under stock-market rules Usmanov’s company, Red & White Holdings, has been prevented from mounting a full takeover bid for at least the six months since saying there was “no current intention” to do so at the end of last August. Red & White paid £75m for shares belonging to the Premier League leaders’ former vice-chairman, David Dein, last August and it continued to snap up small stakes in the ensuing months. Such purchases have since stalled with Usmanov, right, holding 23% of the club’s equity, stopping 2% short of the “blocking stake” he said he was seeking. The end of the spree has driven down the share price by almost 30% but Usmanov has always kept the door open to a bid. There had been rumours of a challenge to the “lock-down” agreement that club directors entered into preventing significant share sales but it never materialised and Arsenal’s board is confident it is legally watertight. “We remain committed as a long-term shareholder,” said a spokesman for Usmanov yesterday.Frosty receptionThere has been talk Fabio Capello might look to move England to a new hotel with fewer distractions but one element at least of Watford’s exclusive Grove Hotel is likely to suit the new manager. Capello’s edict banning mobile phones outside players’ rooms is likely to have presented the England team with a room-number lottery. For certain networks reception is patchy at best, meaning some players will struggle to pursue text conversations with “loved” ones. matt.scott@theguardian.com Topics Digger Share via Email Share via Email Share on Messenger comment Share on Twitter Digger Share on WhatsApp Tue 5 Feb 2008 19.06 EST Share on LinkedInlast_img read more

Cristiano Ronaldo is to return to Manchester United to have his ankle

first_imgShare on Facebook Share on Twitter Thu 31 Jul 2008 19.01 EDT First published on Thu 31 Jul 2008 19.01 EDT Share on WhatsApp Share on Pinterest Shares00 Cristiano Ronaldo is to return to Manchester United to have his ankle assessed Manchester UnitedCristiano Ronaldo is scheduled to return to the club next week for the first time since the saga over his possible world- record transfer to Real Madrid began. The Portuguese is recuperating from surgery on his right ankle and United’s medical team want to assess his rehabilitation a month on from the operation that took place on July 7. Ronaldo is expected to miss the first month of the season, although the length of his absence will become clearer following the specialist’s review. Andy HunterEnglandFabio Capello is expected back in London on Monday but with the 2010 World Cup qualifiers starting in September the national coach has already urged his players to build on the achievements their first friendlies under his leadership. Capello recently flew to Thailand, where he was a guest of the country’s football federation, and is now concentrating on England’s friendly with the Czechs on August 20 at Wembley. PANewcastle UnitedKevin Keegan is resigned to being without Mark Viduka until September. The striker will miss the opening games after making a slow recovery from achilles tendon trouble suffered last season. Louise Taylor MiddlesbroughThe Teessiders have been fined £20,000 with a further £30,000 suspended for finishing last season with the worst disciplinary record. They racked up 85 yellow cards and two reds over 38 games, and the FA has acted after a series of regulatory commission hearings. PARangersThe Ibrox Park club last night signed the defender Madjid Bougherra from Charlton for £2.5m. Topics Manchester United Share via Email Share on Twitter Reuse this content Share on Messenger Share via Email Share on LinkedIn Manchester United Share on Facebooklast_img read more

Friday Roundup

first_imgWal-Mart related, north of the border, scrutiny alerts and updates, and an issue to watch.It’s all here in the Friday roundup.Wal-Mart RelatedHere is what Wal-Mart said in its recent 4Q FY2015 earnings call.“FCPA-and compliance-related costs were $36 million in the fourth quarter, comprised of $26 million for the ongoing inquiries and investigations, and $10 million for our global compliance program and organizational enhancements. For the full year, FCPA-and compliance related costs were $173 million, comprised of $121 million for the ongoing inquiries and investigations, and $52 million for our global compliance program and organizational enhancements. Last year, total FCPA-and compliance-related costs were $282 million.”“In fiscal 2016, we expect our FCPA-related expenses to range between $160 and $180 million.”Doing the math, Wal-Mart’s 4Q FCPA and compliance-related costs is approximately $563,000 in FCPA-related expenses per working day.Over the past approximate three years, I have tracked Wal-Mart’s quarterly disclosed pre-enforcement action professional fees and expenses. While some pundits have ridiculed me for doing so, such figures are notable because, as has been noted in prior posts and in my article “Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Ripples,” settlement amounts in an actual FCPA enforcement action are often only a relatively minor component of the overall financial consequences that can result from corporate FCPA scrutiny.  Pre-enforcement action professional fees and expenses are typically the largest (in many cases to a degree of 3, 5, 10 or higher than settlement amounts) financial hit to a company under FCPA scrutiny.While $563,000 per working day remains eye-popping, Wal-Mart’s recent figure suggests that the company’s pre-enforcement action professional fees and expenses have crested as the figures for the past five quarters have been approximately $640,000, $662,000, $855,000, $1.1 million and $1.3 million per working day.In the aggregate, Wal-Mart’s disclosed pre-enforcement professional fees and expenses are as follows.FY 2013 = $157 million.FY 2014 = $282 million.FY 2015  = $173 million.FY 2016 = $160 – $180 million (projected)North of the BorderYesterday, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) announced charges against the SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., its division SNC-Lavalin Construction Inc. and its subsidiary SNC-Lavalin International Inc.”  As stated in the release:“The three entities have been charged with one count of corruption under paragraph 3(1)(b) of the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act and one count of fraud under paragraph 380(1)(a) of the Criminal Code.The alleged criminal acts surfaced as part of the ongoing criminal investigation into the company’s business dealings in Lybia.The charges laid are the following:In Montreal, Judicial District of Montreal, elsewhere in Canada and abroadBetween on or about August 16, 2001 and on or about September 20, 2011, the SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., its division SNC-Lavalin Construction Inc. and its subsidiary SNC-Lavalin International Inc., did, in order to obtain or retain an advantage in the course of business, directly or indirectly give, offer or agree to give or offer a loan, reward, advantage or benefit of any kind of a value of CAN$47,689,868 or more, to one or several public officials of the “Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya” or to any person for the benefit of a public official of the “Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya”, to induce these officials to use their positions to influence any acts or decisions of the “Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya” for which they perform their duties or functions, thereby committing an indictable offence contrary to paragraph 3(1)(b) of the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act.Between on or about August 16, 2001 and on or about September 20, 2011, the SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., its division SNC-Lavalin Construction Inc. and its subsidiary SNC-Lavalin International Inc. did, by deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means, whether or not it is a false pretense within the meaning of theCriminal Code, defraud the “Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya”, the “Management and Implementation Authority of the Great Man Made River Project” of Libya, the “General People’s Committee for Transport Civil Aviation Authority” of Libya, Lican Drilling Co Ltd, and the “Organization for Development of Administrative Centers” of Benghazi in Libya of property, money or valuable security or service of a value of approximately CAN$129,832,830, thereby committing an indictable offence contrary to paragraph 380(1)(a) of the Criminal Code.”In the release, Assistant Commissioner Gilles Michaud, Commanding Officer of the RCMP’s National Division, stated: “Corruption of foreign officials undermines good governance and sustainable economic development. The charges laid today demonstrate how the RCMP continues to support Canada’s international commitments and safeguard its integrity and reputation.”Upon being charged, SNC-Lavalin issued this release which states in full as follows.“SNC-Lavalin was informed that federal charges have been laid by the Public Prosecution Service of Canada against SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., SNC-Lavalin International Inc. and SNC-Lavalin Construction Inc. Each entity has been charged with one count of fraud under section 380 of the Criminal Code of Canada and one count of corruption under Section 3(1)(b) of the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act. SNC-Lavalin firmly considers that the charges are without merit and will vigorously defend itself and plead not guilty in the interest of its current employees, families, partners, clients, investors and other stakeholders.“The charges stem from the same alleged activities of former employees from over three years ago in Libya, which are publicly known, and that the company has cooperated on with authorities since then,” stated Robert G. Card, President and CEO, SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. “Even though SNC-Lavalin has already incurred significant financial damage and losses as a result of actions taken prior to March 2012, we have always been and remain willing to reach a reasonable and fair solution that promotes accountability, while permitting us to continue to do business and protect the livelihood of our over 40,000 employees, our clients, our investors and our other stakeholders.”It is important to note that companies in other jurisdictions, such as the United States and United Kingdom, benefit from a different approach that has been effectively used in the public interest to resolve similar matters while balancing accountability and securing the employment, economic and other benefits of businesses.These charges relate to alleged reprehensible deeds by former employees who left the company long ago. If charges are appropriate, we believe that they would be correctly applied against the individuals in question and not the company. The company has and will continue to fully cooperate with authorities to ensure that any individuals who are believed to have committed illegal acts are brought to justice. The company will also consider claims against these individuals to recover any damages the company has suffered as a result.While the Public Prosecution Service of Canada and the RCMP have selected this as the next formal step in this 3-year old investigation, there is no change to the company’s right and ability to bid or work on any public or private projects.Becoming a benchmark in ethics and complianceOver the past three years, we have made significant changes to the company and remained focused on continuous improvements in ethics and compliance. The tone from the top is clear and unequivocal; there is zero tolerance for ethics violations. The individuals alleged to have been involved in past ethical issues are no longer with the company, and a new CEO has changed the face of the executive team. Under the leadership of the Board of Directors, the company has reinforced its Ethics and Compliance program with huge investments in time and money to rapidly make significant and concrete enhancements, including:Creating the position of Chief Compliance Officer, who reports to the board, and hiring world-renowned leaders in complianceAppointing an Independent Monitor recommended by and who reports solely to, the World Bank GroupAppointing compliance officers in all of the company’s business units and regional offices worldwideCreating a dedicated Ethics and Compliance teamFurther reinforcing internal controls and proceduresFurther reinforcing its Code of Ethics and Ethics and Compliance HotlineProducing a dedicated  Anti-Corruption ManualOffering annual compliance training to all employees, with a special focus on those working in strategic rolesDeveloping and distributing a world-class Business Partners Policy to employeesUsing an independent third party to screen candidates for senior management positionsWorking hard to build a global leader in the engineering and construction industryOver the past 3 years and while managing issues created by events prior to 2012, we have worked hard to develop and implement a strategy to become a global Tier-1 player and take our place in a consolidating industry. We have taken concrete steps towards a 5-year goal of doubling our size, and we continue to deliver on our strategy. A clear example is the acquisition of Kentz that added 15,000 employees to our oil and gas business, making us a Tier-1 player in this area.Since 1911, SNC-Lavalin employees have been working with our clients to create world-class projects that improve people’s quality of life and provide value to our clients. We are the only Canadian player among the top engineering and construction firms in the world, ranking as the number one firm in both Canada and Quebec.“I would like to thank our more than 40,000 employees, clients, shareholders, partners and other stakeholders for their trust and continuing support,” concluded Mr. Card.”The portion of SNC-Lavalin’s statement highlighted above in bold and underlined is most interesting.Scrutiny Alerts and UpdatesFlowserveIn 2008, Flowserve Corporation and a related entity agreed to pay approximately $10.5 million to resolve DOJ and SEC FCPA enforcement actions concerning conduct in connection with the U.N. Oil for Food Program in Iraq.  As part of the SEC resolution, Flowserve agreed to final judgment permanently enjoining it from future violations of FCPA’s books and records and internal controls provisions.Earlier this week, Flowserve disclosed as follows.“The Company has uncovered actions involving an employee based in an overseas subsidiary that violated our Code of Business Conduct and may have violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The Company has terminated the employee, is in the process of completing an internal investigation, and has self-reported the potential violation to the United States Department of Justice and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. While the Company does not currently believe that this matter will have a material adverse impact on its business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows, there can be no assurance that the Company will not be subjected to monetary penalties and additional costs.”Eli LillyIn December 2012, Eli Lilly agreed to pay $29 million to resolve an SEC FCPA enforcement action based on subsidiary conduct in China, Brazil, Poland, and Russia.  At the time, there was no parallel DOJ action which sent a signal to knowledgeable observers that there would likely not be a parallel DOJ action.Earlier this week, Eli Lilly made this official when it disclosed:“In August 2003, we received notice that the staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was conducting an investigation into the compliance by Lilly’s Polish subsidiary with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (FCPA). Subsequently, we were notified that the SEC had expanded its investigation to other countries and that the Department of Justice (DOJ) was conducting a parallel investigation. In December 2012, we announced that we had reached an agreement with the SEC to settle its investigation. The settlement relates to certain activities of Lilly subsidiaries in Brazil, China, Poland, and Russia from 1994 through 2009. Without admitting or denying the allegations, we consented to pay a civil settlement amount of $29.4 million and agreed to have an independent compliance consultant conduct a 60-day review of our internal controls and compliance program related to the FCPA. In January 2015, the DOJ advised us that they have closed their investigation into this matter.”Rolls-RoyceAs highlighted here, allegations have surfaced that Rolls-Royce “paid bribes for a contract with Brazilian oil firm Petrobras.” According to the report, “one of the Petrobras informants in the case, received at least $200,000 in bribes from Rolls-Royce, which makes gas turbines for Petrobras oil platforms.”As noted in the report, “Britain’s Serious Fraud Office is separately investigating Rolls-Royce because of concerns over possible bribery in Indonesia and China.”As highlighted here and here Rolls-Royce is also under investigation in the U.S. by the DOJ and in 2012 Data Systems & Solutions, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of  Rolls-Royce Holdings, resolved an FCPA enforcement action.U.K. SentencesThe U.K. Serious Fraud Office recently announced that “two employees of Smith and Ouzman Ltd, a printing company based in Eastbourne, were sentenced … following an SFO investigation into corrupt payments made in return for the award of contracts to the company.” As noted in the release:Smith and Ouzman Ltd specialises in security documents such as ballot papers and education certificates.  Its chairman, Christopher John Smith, aged 72 from East Sussex, was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, for two counts of corruptly agreeing to make payments, contrary to section 1(1) of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906, to run concurrently. He was also ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work and has been given a three month curfew.Nicholas Charles Smith, the sales and marketing director of the company, aged 43 from East Sussex, was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for three counts of corruptly agreeing to make payments, to run concurrently. The company itself was also convicted of the same three offences and will be sentenced at a later date.Both men were disqualified from acting as company directors for six years.Director of the SFO, David Green CB QC commented:“This case marks the first convictions secured against a corporate for foreign bribery, following a contested trial. The convictions recognise the corrosive impact of such conduct on growth and the integrity of business contracts in the Developing World.”In passing sentence HHJ Higgins commented:“Your behaviour was cynical, deplorable and deeply antisocial, suggesting moral turpitude.”The briberyact.com published in full the Judge’s sentencing remarks.Issue to WatchThis Wall Street Journal editorial was about Apple’s battle with its corporate monitor in an antitrust action.  While outside the FCPA context, the editorial nevertheless notes:“Apple might have settled long ago as most corporations do, and that option might even have been cheaper than a protracted appeal. But the company is doing a public service by attempting to vindicate a legal principle and brake the growing abuse of court-appointed monitors and a crank theory of antitrust that will harm many more innovators if it is allowed to stand. If Apple prevails in the Second Circuit, it ought to sue Mr. Bromwich and attempt to disgorge the $2.65 million he has soaked from shareholders.”*****A good weekend to all.last_img read more

Researchers find longterm structural functional brain abnormalities in individuals with AUDs

first_imgAug 17 2018Alcohol use disorders (AUDs) are known to adversely impact brain structure and function. Although recovery of brain morphology and function has been reported following abstinence from long-term alcohol use, some structural (e.g., brain area volumes and connections) and functional (e.g., cognitive) abnormalities due to long-term effects of AUDs may persist even after abstinence from alcohol. To further our understanding, scientists assessed the consequences of long-term alcohol use on brain circuitry, structural impairment patterns, and the impact of these impairments on cognitive function among individuals with AUDs who were abstinent.Related StoriesMercy Medical Center adds O-arm imaging system to improve spinal surgery resultsWearing a hearing aid may mitigate dementia riskDon’t Miss the Blood-Brain Barrier Drug Delivery (B3DD) Summit this AugustThe scientists examined differences in volumes of brain areas, microstructural integrity of brain tissues, and performance on neuropsychological tests of 60 individuals: 30 individuals with AUDs who were abstinent and 30 healthy individuals without AUDs for comparison.Despite their abstinence, compared to the healthy comparison group, the AUD group had poorer problem-solving ability, visuospatial memory span, and working memory, as well as smaller mass volumes in three prefrontal cortical areas (i.e., those involved in functions required to execute a task) and hippocampal areas (those involved in memory), and less microstructural integrity in nine white matter regions (connections among brain areas) and in left thalamus (which is involved in information relay). Smaller structural brain volumes and microstructural tissue abnormalities were related to impairments in visuospatial memory (i.e., memory of visually represented spatial relationships of objects)and problem-solving ability among individuals with AUDs. These findings thus demonstrate several persistent long-term structural and functional brain abnormalities in individuals with AUDs, and a relationship between specific structural brain and specific cognitive function abnormalities even after abstinence. Source:http://www.rsoa.orglast_img read more

Why katydids sing in unison

first_imgWhen a group of male katydids croon a tune in nearly perfect synchrony, it means the insects are after the ladies. But they’re not aligning their singing with each other to come across as larger or louder, a new study finds; each male is trying to beat out the others to be the first—by mere milliseconds—to hit a note. Katydids, also known as bush crickets (Mecopoda elongata), are among a handful of insects that make noise by rubbing a hind leg on one wing. Scientists knew that the sound attracted females, but they didn’t know why the males sang in synchrony. In the new study, researchers recorded and analyzed the choral performances of 18 different groups of four male katydids. Then, they let females choose between the males in each group. Females preferred males that were the first to broadcast each tone, even if it were only 70 milliseconds ahead of others in the group, the team reports online today in Royal Society Open Science. Moreover, the females preferred these lead singers to katydids that were singing alone—but the increased volume of the chorus didn’t seem to draw more females to the group as a whole. Singing in a group, the authors of the new study hypothesize, might help keep males on a steady rhythm—another trait that female katydids in the study preferred. But more work is needed to figure out why females chose the steadiest, leading singer, and whether the observation holds true in all species of katydids, like the round-headed katydid (pictured) that’s more common in North America.last_img read more

NIH in uproar over report slamming Clinical Center leadership shakeup

first_imgA decision to overhaul the leadership of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center after an outside review group found serious patient safety problems has sparked an uproar at the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland. In a recent letter, department chiefs at the center wrote that the review, triggered by problems with a drug production facility, unfairly concluded that patient safety has been compromised across the research hospital. They say the working group’s report has demoralized staff, worried patients, and “demonized” the center’s leadership.Patient advocates and clinical research leaders across NIH have also written letters taking issue with the review. NIH Director Francis Collins yesterday responded to one of the letters, from Clinical Center department heads. In a statement, Collins said he is “taking the comments … very seriously. They are highly dedicated senior leaders, and I have great respect for all of them.” At the same time, he “stand[s] by” the outside working group’s process and expertise and agrees that the center needs “more central authority and accountability.” Collins was expected to meet with clinical leaders today to discuss their concerns. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email The Clinical Center’s troubles began about a year ago, when fungal contamination was found in two vials of a drug from a sterile production unit in the center’s pharmaceutical development section. A review found other problems at the facility, such as insects in light fixtures. Although no patients were harmed, in December 2015 Collins asked a so-called Red Team—a working group of his Advisory Committee to the Director—to review the entire Clinical Center. The team’s April report found “substantial operations issues” with patient safety, regulatory compliance, and leadership. It described a culture in which patient safety “became subservient to research demands.” Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe In response, Collins announced several changes, including a new hospital board. And on 10 May, he said that Clinical Center Director John Gallin’s team would be replaced with a new leadership structure similar to that used by most hospitals: a chief executive officer, chief operating officer, and chief medical officer. Gallin’s team will stay on during the changes, Collins said.But Clinical Center staff say the Red Team’s report went too far. In the strongly worded letter dated 16 May from seven Center department heads and senior scientist Harvey Alter, they wrote that the claim that patient safety took a back seat to research is “quite simply, incorrect.” They suggested the Red Team would have come to different conclusions if they had met with more clinical research leaders and patients, examined positive reviews by outside accrediting organizations, and reviewed standard metrics for quality of care— such as data on patient falls and infections.Instead the Red Team “conflated deficiencies in certain clinical center operations” as “indicative of the quality” of individual patient care, stated the letter, first described by The Wall Street Journal. The resulting report and subsequent news coverage, they write, has “demonized [Clinical Center] leadership, demoralized high effective employees … and alarmed our patients.”Members of the Clinical Center’s patient advisory group have weighed in, too, noting in an open letter yesterday that they are not aware of any patient safety breaches. They make a plea to retain Gallin and his leadership team, who they argue have become “scapegoats” for broader problems, such as the center’s unsettled funding.A more measured 27 May letter, from a committee comprised of the clinical directors from NIH’s institutes, also expressed “concerns.” The authors pointed out that the center’s safety standards are actually higher than in most hospitals, because all patients are part of an approved research protocol and are closely monitored. At the same time, the committee agrees with some problems identified in the report, including the fact that funding for the Clinical Center’s operations comes from a tax on NIH institutes. The center needs its own budget stream and more dedicated money to make needed changes, the letter suggests.Another widely accepted conclusion in the Red Team report is that it is a problem that many staff working in the Clinical Center report to leaders at their institutes, and not the center’s leadership. Collins has already responded to this issue by giving these staff an additional reporting line to the Clinical Center director, NIH says. The Red Team’s chair, former Lockheed Martin CEO Norm Augustine, did not respond to an email request for comment. But team member Harlan Krumholz, a cardiologist at Yale University, defended the report’s conclusions, saying it was based on interviews with NIH experts, site visits, and reading “extensive materials.”“We saw clear opportunities to elevate systems so that they could more reliably ensure the safety” of patients, Krumholz told ScienceInsider. As for the report’s lack of data showing broader patient safety problems, he adds, “the issue that led to the Red Team should be evidence enough of a problem.”Today, NIH posted a “correction” to the Red Team report’s assertion that the Clinical Center has not collected common quality control measures. “In fact, the Clinical Center does collect metrics associated with patient safety,” but NIH is evaluating whether more are needed, the Red Team web page states. Although several signers of the 16 May letter did not respond to emails requesting comment, one NIH clinical research leader told ScienceInsider that “hundreds” of staff are upset by the Red Team’s report and Collins’s response, which they worry will “ruin” the Clinical Center. A group called the NIH Assembly of Scientists that represents intramural staff is also considering whether to write Collins, but was holding off until after the meeting with him today. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrylast_img read more

Oldestever proteins extracted from 38millionyearold ostrich shells

first_imgOXFORD, U.K.—Scientists have smashed through another time barrier in their search for ancient proteins from fossilized teeth and bones, they said yesterday, adding to growing excitement about the promise of using proteins to study extinct animals and humans that lived more than 1 million years ago. Until now, the oldest sequenced proteins are largely acknowledged to come from a 700,000-year-old horse in Canada’s Yukon territory, despite claims of extraction from much older dinosaurs. In two talks at the seventh International Symposium on Biomolecular Archaeology here yesterday, geneticists reported that their teams had extracted proteins from 3.8-million-year-old ostrich egg shells in Laetoli, Tanzania, and from the 1.7-million-year-old tooth enamel of several extinct animals in Dmanisi, Georgia. The teeth, buried at the fossil site that houses the earliest hominin remains outside Africa (above), came from extinct horses, rhinos, and deer. Geneticist Enrico Cappellini of the University of Copenhagen and biochemist Matthew Collins of the University of York in the United Kingdom said their team had extracted and decoded 5000 amino acids from a half-dozen proteins, which they will now analyze to determine the animals’ sex, species, and other traits. Collins also reported that his team has extracted proteins from 3.8-million-year-old ostrich eggshells from Laetoli, the site of some of the world’s earliest human footprints. Although such ancient proteins have not yet been recovered form hominin fossils, these studies prove that such ancient proteins can survive—and are fast becoming a resource to mine for information about the biology of organisms too old to produce ancient DNA.last_img read more

United States bans most government scientists from travel to Cuba

first_img By Richard StoneNov. 28, 2017 , 4:50 PM HAVANA—To celebrate its 80th anniversary, the Pedro Kourí Institute of Tropical Medicine (IPK) here is throwing a birthday bash: a conference next week that several U.S. collaborators were planning to attend. All but one has backed out, says IPK virologist María Guadalupe Guzmán. Some, she says, were unsettled by recent claims that U.S. diplomats in Cuba suffered what the Department of State has described as “health attacks.” And two researchers with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told IPK they had to pull out because agency officials forbade them from traveling to Cuba.Three years after the United States and Cuba announced the restoration of diplomatic relations, the atmosphere for cooperation has grown sharply chillier. In June, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he would roll back the rapprochement, and his administration followed through last month with rules that limit travel to Cuba from the United States, and where Americans can spend money on the island. The new regulations don’t explicitly target science and have exemptions for academics. (The CDC referred Science to the State Department; a spokesperson explained that “short-term travel by U.S. government officials to Cuba is currently limited to those involved with the ongoing investigation” into the alleged attacks.) And the closure of the U.S. consulate here in October means that Cubans must travel to a third country to apply for a U.S. visa, all but shutting down visits by Cuban scientists to the United States.The United States’s “new hostile policy towards Cuba undermines confidence” in joint research, says Luis Montero-Cabrera, a chemist at the University of Havana. The Trump administration, adds John Van Horn, a neuroscientist at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, “has likely shut the door to many U.S.-Cuban interactions.” FRANKLIN REYES/ASSOCIATED PRESS Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) An insecticide fog fills the air in Havana after fumigation against the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwecenter_img United States bans most government scientists from travel to Cuba Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Email The toxic political atmosphere injects uncertainty into several budding initiatives. One focuses on arboviruses, mosquito-borne pathogens that include the Zika, chikungunya, and dengue viruses. After a call for proposals on arbovirus research with Cuba, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) approved in June four 1-year grants, each paying up to $50,000. Modest by U.S. standards, the grants—administered by CRDF Global, a nonprofit in Arlington, Virginia—are a bonanza for Cuban scientists, who have scarce resources for research. IPK won all four grants, including studies of dengue immunity and tests of the Wolbachia bacterium’s ability to tamp down arbovirus transmission.According to Guzmán, NIH informed IPK that the grants have been “put on hold.” An NIH spokesperson was unable to confirm the grants’ status before Science went to press. A CRDF official says the holdup is not political; it involves long-standing difficulties in transferring funds to Cuba.Other U.S. science activities on the island are in limbo. In 2015, Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, became the first NIH awardee ever to receive funds for use in Cuba, says Arachu Castro, director of Tulane’s Collaborative Group for Health Equity in Latin America. “We continue to plan joint research and teaching activities,” Castro says, “but in light of the new U.S. regulations, we are mindful of the need to have a plan B.” Contingency planning is also underway at USC, which last year inked an agreement with the Cuban Center for Neuroscience here. And Cuba’s Ministry of Public Health is unsure whether a memorandum of understanding signed in June 2016 with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services continues to carry weight. “We don’t know what will happen,” says the health ministry’s Ileana Morales Suárez. “But we aren’t ready to give up on exchanges with U.S. scientists.”The news for Cuban science is not entirely dispiriting. In October, the European Union’s flagship research program, Horizon 2020, announced it would allow Cubans to apply for grants together with European colleagues. And some U.S. collaborations remain on track. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration sponsored a joint research cruise last summer with the National System of Protected Areas of Cuba (SNAP) that circumnavigated the island, assessing coral reefs. This month, SNAP will host several U.S. scientists here to discuss next steps, including joint publications.But SNAP’s workshop is an exception, as U.S. visits to Cuba are tapering. About 80% of U.S. chemists who signed up to attend Hot Topics 2018, a workshop here in January on chemistry collaborations, have pulled out, Montero-Cabrera says. (Several U.S. scientists confirmed to Science that they will not attend.) And it’s more daunting than ever for Cubans to reach the United States. Cubans seeking visas are being steered to other U.S. embassies—prohibitively expensive trips for many Cuban scientists. IPK had planned to send five young scientists to the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston for training in molecular studies of arboviruses and how to organize a bank of viral strains. It’s unclear when that will happen, Guzmán says.Earlier this week, two UTMB scientists ran a workshop at IPK on how to safely operate its new biocontainment laboratory. Now, Guzmán is wondering when she will have another chance to work with U.S. colleagues. “I suppose this is the last activity we do together” for the foreseeable future, she says.last_img read more

Chadwick Boseman To Play First Black Samurai

first_img Chadwick Boseman , Entertainment , Film , Japan , Movie , Portuguese Mozambique , samurai , Yasuke The film, titled Yasuke, will capture the unsung journey of a 16th-century samurai who hailed from Portuguese Mozambique. Yasuke—who was uprooted from his homeland and forced into slavery—is believed to be the first Black man to enter Japan. The movie chronicles the cultivation of a friendship between him and a warlord named Oda Nobunaga. After building a friendship Nobunaga honored Yasuke with the samurai title; one of the highest honors in Japanese culture.Doug Miro will serve as a writer for the film and it is being produced by Mike De Luca, Stephen L’Heureux, Logan Coles and Boseman. Boseman is excited to use his artistry as an avenue to bring Yasuke’s story to the forefront. “The legend of Yasuke is one of history’s best kept secrets, the only person of non-Asian origin to become a Samurai,” he said in a statement, according to the news outlet. “That’s not just an action movie, that’s a cultural event, an exchange, and I am excited to be part of it.” There is no word on when the film is slated to be released.There have been a few efforts to shed light on Yasuke’s story through pieces of literature and a Netflix anime series produced and directed by LeSean Thomas featuring the voice of Lakeith Stanfield.SEE ALSO:Actors Who Got Their Big Breaks In John Singleton Movies‘Overlord’ Movie Review: Up And Coming Actor Jovan Adepo Slays In First Starring Role Representation matters and actor Chadwick Boseman has displayed this time and time again through the narratives that he brings to life on the big screen. For his next project, the South Carolina-bred actor will take on the role of the first African samurai, Deadline reported. Black Folks In D.C. Are Fighting Back Against Gentrification With #Moechellacenter_img Moechella Chadwick Boseman To Play African Samurai ‘Yasuke’ In Deal With Picturestart, De Luca Productions, Solipsist & X●ception Content https://t.co/tf7rNhfVoN pic.twitter.com/ChjCsdj5aK— Deadline Hollywood (@DEADLINE) May 7, 2019last_img read more

Gum disease–causing bacteria could spur Alzheimers

first_img S. Dominy et al., Science Advances 5, (2019) Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Gum disease–causing bacteria could spur Alzheimer’s Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email Working with labs in Europe, the United States, New Zealand, and Australia, the Cortexyme team confirmed earlier reports that P. gingivalis can be found in the brains of deceased people with Alzheimer’s, and they detected the microbe’s DNA in living patients’ spinal fluid. In more than 90% of the more than 50 Alzheimer’s brain samples, they also spotted toxic enzymes produced by the bacteria called gingipains. Brains with more gingipains had higher quantities of the Alzheimer’s-linked proteins tau and ubiquitin. Even the brains of roughly 50 deceased, apparently dementia-free elderly people selected as controls often had lower levels of both gingipains and the proteins indicating Alzheimer’s pathology. That early appearance is important, Lynch says, because “you would expect it to be there before the onset” of symptoms.To explore whether the bacteria were causing disease, the team swabbed the gums of healthy mice with P. gingivalis every other day for 6 weeks to establish an infection. They later detected the bacteria in the animals’ brains, along with dying neurons and higher than normal levels of β-amyloid protein. In a lab dish, the gingipains—whose job is to chop up proteins—damaged tau, a regularly occurring brain protein that forms tangles in people with Alzheimer’s. In the brain, this protein damage may spur the formation of tangles, they say. Poor oral health is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. What’s not clear is whether gum disease causes the disorder or is merely a result—many patients with dementia can’t take care of their teeth, for example. Now, a privately sponsored study has confirmed that the bacteria that cause gum disease are present in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s, not just in their mouths. The study also finds that in mice, the bacteria trigger brain changes typical of the disease.The provocative findings are the latest in a wave of research suggesting microbial infections may play a role in Alzheimer’s disease. But even some scientists who champion that once-fringy notion aren’t convinced that Porphyromonas gingivalis, the species fingered in the new study, is behind the disorder. “I’m fully on board with the idea that this microbe could be a contributing factor. I’m much less convinced that [it] causes Alzheimer’s disease,” says neurobiologist Robert Moir of the Harvard University–affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston, whose work suggests the β-amyloid protein that forms plaques in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients is a protective response to microbial invaders.The new study, published today in Science Advances, was sponsored by the biotech startup Cortexyme Inc. of South San Francisco, California. Co-founder Stephen Dominy is a psychiatrist who in the 1990s became intrigued by the idea that Alzheimer’s could have an infectious cause. At the time, he was treating people with HIV at the University of California, San Francisco. Some had HIV-related dementia that resolved after they got antiviral drugs. Dominy began a side project looking for P. gingivalis in brain tissue from deceased patients with Alzheimer’s, and—after his work found hints—started the company with entrepreneur Casey Lynch, who had studied Alzheimer’s as a graduate student. iStock.com/bernardbodo A new study finds evidence that a pathogen involved in gum disease can be found in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country β-amyloid (green) and tooth bacteria toxins called gingipains (red) in brain tissue from an Alzheimer’s patient By Jocelyn KaiserJan. 23, 2019 , 2:00 PM Giving the mice a drug that binds gingipains cleared P. gingivalis from the brain better than a common antibiotic, and it reduced the β-amyloid production and resulting neurodegeneration. Targeting gingipains likely works by cutting off nutrients and other molecules that the enzyme supplies to the bacteria, Dominy says. In initial tests with human volunteers, a similar drug seemed safe and showed signs of improving cognition in nine participants with Alzheimer’s, the company says. A larger study is slated to start this year.Although the paper refers to “evidence for causation,” Dominy goes a step further and says the experiments suggest “P. gingivalis is causing Alzheimer’s.” He and Lynch note that a study published in PLOS ONE in October 2018 by a team at the University of Illinois in Chicago also found that an oral infection with P. gingivalis can cause amyloid buildup and neurodegeneration in the brains of mice.The Cortexyme study is “the largest to date” to find P. gingivalis in Alzheimer’s brains, and it “is clearly very comprehensively approached,” says neurologist James Noble of Columbia University, who has studied the link between periodontal disease and Alzheimer’s. “These are strange ideas, but they seem to be getting some traction.”Other pathogens have been found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s, including spirochete bacteria, which can cause Lyme disease, and some herpesviruses. Moir and Rudolph Tanzi at MGH have shown that β-amyloid in the brain appears to protect mice from bacterial and viral infections by trapping the invaders. Too much of this protective response to pathogens could trigger the buildup of the disease’s signature amyloid plaques, they suggest.Moir thinks P. gingivalis is likely one of a variety of pathogens that contribute to the β-amyloid buildup and neuroinflammation. But he’s skeptical that the bacteria or its toxin directly cause Alzheimer’s. That’s partly because other recent studies that have explored the link with periodontal disease have not always found it in people with Alzheimer’s.Howard Fillit, a neuroscientist and chief science officer at the nonprofit Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation in New York City, is more impressed. “They did a lot of different experiments to build the case that gingipains are a drug target in Alzheimer’s disease,” he says. “I think it’s worth pursuing, and I’m glad they’re in a clinical trial.”If the findings hold up, do they mean that everyone with gum disease—nearly 50% of the U.S. adult population—will develop Alzheimer’s? Not necessarily. But if healthy people want to stay on the safe side and potentially reduce their risk, Noble says, “the main conclusion we still have is: brush and floss.”last_img read more

US presses Cambodia over possible Chinese military presence

first_img Cabinet asks finance panel to consider securing funds for defence The US Department of Defense and Army Attache in Phnom Penh, Michael Stelzig, confirmed that the letter to General Tea Banh had been delivered on June 24. The US Embassy had no further comment.A spokesman for Cambodia’s defence ministry said the US money had not been declined, but that Cambodia wanted it spent elsewhere.“At Ream, perhaps, there will be some changes in the future,” Chhum Socheat said. He said he could not give details of the changes. When asked if they would involve Chinese forces, he said they would not.CHINA’S FRIENDCambodia is one of China’s closest allies in Southeast Asia and has received billions of dollars of Chinese aid as well as political backing for authoritarian Prime Minister Hun Sen in the face of Western criticism. By Reuters |Phnom Penh | Published: July 1, 2019 10:26:12 pm Cambodia: 3 workers dead, 18 injured in building collapse Related News Eighteen dead, 24 injured in Cambodia building collapse UN launches plan to combat escalating hate speech Best Of Express A letter to the Cambodian defence minister, seen by Reuters, reflects concern in Washington about the Chinese military presence in Southeast Asia, where China is increasingly assertive over its contested claims in the South China Sea.The letter from Joseph Felter, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia, asked for more information on the decision to decline help to repair a training facility and boat depot at Ream Naval Base.“The notification letter of 6 June 2019 has been seen throughout the US government and is fuelling speculation that this sudden change of policy could indicate larger plans for changes at Ream Naval Base, particularly ones that involve hosting Chinese military assets,” said the letter.It gave no details of any such plans. But Cambodia has supported Beijing’s line on negotiations with Southeast Asian countries over the South China Sea, where Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have overlapping claims. Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield Advertising Taking stock of monsoon rain Post Comment(s) Advertising Advertising The Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh did not respond to a request for comment on the letter or any plan for Chinese forces at Ream Naval Base.China currently operates one overseas military base, in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, and has repeatedly rejected speculation that it plans to open more in other countries.Felter visited the base in January and said he had offered support for the repairs on U.S.-funded facilities in April after getting a Cambodian request for help. The offer was later turned down, he said.Ream Naval Base, Cambodia’s largest, is southeast of the port city of Sihanoukville, centre of a Chinese-led casino boom and a Chinese-run Special Economic Zone. Hun Sen said last year that there would never be a foreign military base in Cambodia after a news report that China was lobbying for a naval base in Koh Kong province – northwest of Sihanoukville.US Vice President Mike Pence also wrote to Hun Sen last year to express concerns at a foreign military presence or base in Cambodia, something that would be forbidden by Cambodia’s constitution.Cambodia has been wary of superpower rivalry since being devastated by fighting between US and Chinese proxy forces in the 1970s that culminated in the Khmer Rouge genocide. After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan Money talks in Trump's Mideast plan but can it pave way for peace? The US Department of Defense and Army Attache in Phnom Penh, Michael Stelzig, confirmed that the letter to General Tea Banh had been delivered on June 24. The US Embassy had no further comment. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)The US Defense Department has asked Cambodia to explain why it suddenly turned down an offer to repair a naval base, saying the decision had raised speculation of possible plans for hosting China’s military. More Explainedlast_img read more

These termite mounds are so big you can see them from space

first_img These termite mounds are so big you can see them from space In the dry scrub forests of northeastern Brazil, termites have been hard at work for thousands of years—and the millions of mounds they’ve created in a Michigan-size swath of terrain are grand testaments to those efforts.The species responsible for the mounds (pictured), which measure 2 meters to 4 meters high and up to 9 meters across, is Syntermes dirus. Those heaps aren’t homes for the insects, as mounds built by other termite species can be. Nor are they part of a ventilation system, because the mounds are sealed off and aren’t open to the air. Instead, researchers suggest, the structures are merely waste material brought to the surface by the termites as they carve out the extensive networks of underground tunnels they live in.Eleven mounds the researchers sampled range from 690 years to 3820 years in age. Together, the millions of Brazilian termite mounds contain an estimated 10 cubic kilometers of soil, the team reports today in Current Biology. That volume, equal to about 4000 Great Pyramids of Giza, renders the structures the largest known example of ecosystem engineering by a single insect species, the scientists say. Roy Funch center_img By Sid PerkinsNov. 19, 2018 , 11:00 AMlast_img read more

Google Device Bug Chokes Home WiFi Networks

first_imgThe Cast feature on Google’s home devices is the culprit behind the WiFi problems, according to a post on the TP-Link website. Cast sends MDNS multicast discovery packets in order to discover and keep a live connection with Google products such as Home. These packets normally are sent in 20-second intervals.However, after a device wakes up from sleep mode, it sometimes broadcasts a large amount of the packets — more than 100,000 on some occasions — at a very high speed in a short amount of time. The longer the device is asleep, the larger the packet burst will be.This issue eventually may cause some of a router’s primary features to shut down — including wireless connectivity, according to the post. Rebooting a router will return WiFi connectivity. Disabling the Cast feature will address the problem, too.”Google Home and Chromecast users with Android phones may experience issues that cause their routers to respond slowly,” Paula and the Google Home product team acknowledged in a forum post on Wednesday. “We apologize for any inconvenience and this week we’ll begin rolling out a fix with an update to Google Play services.” Arcane Technology Bugs Unavoidable No Brand Damage While more devices will be added to home networks, they aren’t likely to bring the nets to their knees, as the Cast bug is doing.”We’re going to see more devices coming into the home and that’s going to present traffic challenges, but most of these products will require very little bandwidth,” said Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research.”Security will be a bigger issue than network congestion,” he told TechNewsWorld.A bigger problem exposed by the Cast bug may be the arcane nature of home routers.”Routers break down on people all the time, and it’s almost impossible to figure out what’s causing it,” noted Bob O’Donnell, chief analyst at Technalysis Research.”In this case, a bug was found,” he told TechNewsWorld, “but there are so many instances where this occurs that it just highlights how much more work has to be done on simplifying the process of making home routers more reliable and more understandable for troubleshooting purposes.” Cast Issuecenter_img Most people will not hear about the Cast bug before Google patches it, said Kevin Krewell, principal analyst with Tirias Research.”WiFi is not such a reliable service that people don’t already expect random disruptions,” he told TechNewsWorld. “Owners are more likely to blame TP Link — rightly or wrongly — when the WiFi goes down. I don’t expect any damage to Google’s reputation.”With the proliferation of home devices connected to WiFi networks, bugs are going to appear from time to time, Krewell said. “The most important thing is discovery and patching — just like security vulnerabilities. The most important thing for consumers is to keep their devices’ firmware up to date. An occasional reboot doesn’t hurt, either.” This isn’t the first time this kind of bug has appeared in a Google device. Similar complaints emerged last year about software for the Nexus Player, a digital media player developed by Google, Intel and Asus.That incident didn’t seem to tarnish the image of Google’s home devices and this one isn’t likely to do so either.”It’s a short-term problem,” said Paul Erickson, a senior analyst with IHS Markit.”The issue isn’t on the mainstream radar,” he told TechNewsWorld. “For the average consumer, this isn’t going to be a very visible issue.”The problem should be relatively easy to fix via a software update, noted Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.”If Google addresses the problem in short order,” he told TechNewsWorld, “customers will quickly put it behind them.” A bug in the software used by Google Cast devices such as Chromecast and Home can slow down or crash WiFi networks.The problem — initially believed to be isolated to a particular router model made by TP-Link — appears to affect models made by other manufacturers, including Asus, Linksys, Netgear and Synology.Complaints on a Google user forum brought the problem to light earlier this week.Forum user Alastair Hadden’s network problems started after installing Google Home Max, he wrote. “Initial setup was fine, everything was working (Assistant, streaming services), but then my WiFi network went down, which required a hard restart of modem and router to fix. It took it going down a few more times for me to realize the Max was causing it.”Forum user Ryan Crowson had a similar experience.”Added a Home Max to the mix tonight and my router kept dying,” he wrote. “I couldn’t even hardwire and log into it to see what was happening, had to unplug the router every time. I had a hunch it was the Max, so I unplugged it and sure enough all other Homes starting working again without crashing my network.” John P. Mello Jr. has been an ECT News Network reportersince 2003. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, IT issues, privacy, e-commerce, social media, artificial intelligence, big data and consumer electronics. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including the Boston Business Journal, theBoston Phoenix, Megapixel.Net and GovernmentSecurity News. Email John.last_img read more

Researchers identify common genetic connection in lung conditions

first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Oct 22 2018An international research team led by members of the University of Colorado School of Medicine faculty has identified a genetic connection between rheumatoid arthritis-associated interstitial lung disease and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.The findings are published in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.”By uncovering this link in the genetic background between these conditions, we now know that rheumatoid arthritis associated-interstitial lung disease and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis have similar causes and may prove to have similar treatments,” said first author Joyce Lee, MD, Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine.Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory and autoimmune disease that affects about 1 percent of the population. While it is commonly associated with progressive impairment, systemic complications and increased mortality, up to 60 percent of the patients with rheumatoid arthritis suffer from pulmonary conditions known as interstitial lung disease, which causes progressive scarring of lung tissue, lung impairment, and death. Interstitial lung disease is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with RA.Related StoriesSome people treated for type 1 diabetes may have monogenic diabetes, study findsGene modulation goes wireless hacking the “boss gene”Study: Treatment of psychosis can be targeted to specific genetic mutationIdiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is the most common type of progressive lung fibrosis. Over time, the scarring gets worse and it becomes hard to take in a deep breath and the lungs cannot take in enough oxygen. The average length of survival of patients with IPF is three to five years, and a critical unmet need is to identify patients before the lung is scarred irreversibly.The investigators on the current study in the New England Journal hypothesized that there might be a common element in the genetics of RA-interstitial lung disease and IPF, so they studied a diverse population of patients with RA, including those who had and those who did not have interstitial lung disease. The study collected cases of patients from France, China, Greece, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands and the United States. The number of study subjects totaled more than 6,000.The investigators found that a specific genetic characteristic, known as the MUC5B promoter variant rs35705950, which results in a marked increase production of mucus in the lung and is the strongest genetic risk factor for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, is also the strongest risk factor for RA-interstitial lung disease.”These findings will enable us to identify those with rheumatoid arthritis who are at risk of pulmonary fibrosis and design interventions to potentially prevent patients with rheumatoid arthritis from developing progressive pulmonary fibrosis,” said senior and corresponding author David Schwartz, MD, Chair of the Department of Medicine at the CU School of Medicine. Source:http://www.ucdenver.edu/last_img read more

Early adult general cognitive ability is a stronger predictor of mental capacity

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 22 2019Early adult general cognitive ability (GCA) — the diverse set of skills involved in thinking, such as reasoning, memory and perception — is a stronger predictor of cognitive function and reserve later in life than other factors, such as higher education, occupational complexity or engaging in late-life intellectual activities, report researchers in a new study publishing January 21 in PNAS.Higher education and late-life intellectual activities, such as doing puzzles, reading or socializing, have all been associated with reduced risk of dementia and sustained or improved cognitive reserve. Cognitive reserve is the brain’s ability to improvise and find alternate ways of getting a job done and may help people compensate for other changes associated with aging.An international team of scientists, led by scientists at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, sought to address a “chicken or egg” conundrum posed by these associations. Does being in a more complex job help maintain cognitive abilities, for example, or do people with greater cognitive abilities tend to be in more complex occupations?The researchers evaluated more than 1,000 men participating in the Vietnam Era Twin Study of Aging. Although all were veterans, nearly 80 percent of the participants reported no combat experience. All of the men, now in their mid-50s to mid-60s, took the Armed Forces Qualification Test at an average age of 20. The test is a measure GCA. As part of the study, researchers assessed participants’ performance in late midlife, using the same GCA measure, plus assessments in seven cognitive domains, such as memory, abstract reasoning and verbal fluency.They found that GCA at age 20 accounted for 40 percent of the variance in the same measure at age 62, and approximately 10 percent of the variance in each of the seven cognitive domains. After accounting for GCA at age 20, the authors concluded, other factors had little effect. For example, lifetime education, complexity of job and engagement in intellectual activities each accounted for less than 1 percent of variance at average age 62.Related StoriesNew app created to help people reduce exposure to anticholinergic medicationsRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaNeural pathways explain the relationship between imagination and willingness to help”The findings suggest that the impact of education, occupational complexity and engagement in cognitive activities on later life cognitive function likely reflects reverse causation,” said first author William S. Kremen, PhD, professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “In other words, they are largely downstream effects of young adult intellectual capacity.”In support of that idea, researchers found that age 20 GCA, but not education, correlated with the surface area of the cerebral cortex at age 62. The cerebral cortex is the thin, outer region of the brain (gray matter) responsible for thinking, perceiving, producing and understanding language.The authors emphasized that education is clearly of great value and can enhance a person’s overall cognitive ability and life outcomes. Comparing their findings with other research, they speculated that the role of education in increasing GCA takes place primarily during childhood and adolescence when there is still substantial brain development.However, they said that by early adulthood, education’s effect on GCA appears to level off, though it continues to produce other beneficial effects, such as broadening knowledge and expertise.Kremen said remaining cognitively active in later life is beneficial, but “our findings suggest we should look at this from a lifespan perspective. Enhancing cognitive reserve and reducing later life cognitive decline may really need to begin with more access to quality childhood and adolescent education.”The researchers said additional investigations would be needed to fully confirm their inferences, such as a single study with cognitive testing at different times throughout childhood and adolescence. Source:https://health.ucsd.edu/news/releases/Pages/2019-01-21-youthful-cognitive-ability-strongly-predicts-mental-capacity-later-in-life.aspxlast_img read more