That old safe haven, gold, could well seal the destiny of at least part of the forests of the Guiana Shield. This is what emerged from work by researchers from CIRAD, the CNRS and the University of French Guiana, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. For the first time, the scientists involved used maps of annual deforestation based on high-resolution satellite images to examine the impact of gold mining on the tropical rainforests of the Guiana Shield between 2001 and 2014. This new analysis, which covered Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana and the Brazilian state of Amapá, showed that when gold prices rise, deforestation increases, and that when they fall, deforestation decreases. It also revealed subtantial disparities from one country to another, which would warrant drafting more coordinated regulatory policies on the scale of the Guiana Shield, and casts doubt on the relevance of global deforestation control mechanisms such as REDD+.
Journal of Women's Health
A study of U.S. Navy healthcare personnel has shown that when comparing the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among women and men who had similar deployment experiences, and especially combat experience, the risk of PTSD was significantly higher among women. PTSD risk rose for both men and women with an increasing number of combat exposures, as reported in Journal of Women's Health, a peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Journal of Women's Health website until April 1, 2017.
Hiroshima University finds way to determine disease-causing mutations.
Researchers at Hiroshima University have developed a smart genetic reference library for locating and weeding out disease-causing mutations in populations. The technique and database, developed by Dr. Satoshi Okada, of HU’s Graduate School of Biomedical & Health Sciences, has successfully estimated naturally occurring rare-variants in the STAT1 gene – and determined the diseases that would result. Using alanine scanning – a method for assessing the functional potential of genes, this study, the first of its kind, should assist doctors in diagnosing primary-immunodeficiency in patients.
Treatment of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis has been greatly improved by the introduction of biologic therapies such as infliximab (which targets tumour necrosis factor alpha), but at considerable cost. A recent analysis of results from 11 published studies including 829 patients shows that a new and lower-cost biosimilar for infliximab-called CT-P13 (Remsima/Inflectra)-has excellent clinical efficacy and safety. Biosimilars are highly similar versions of complex biologic therapies. CT-P13 has been recently approved in the United States, the European Union, Australia, Canada, Japan, and many other countries.
The functional origin of dinosaur bipedalism: Cumulative evidence from bipedally inclined reptiles and disinclined mammals06 Mar 2017 Scritto da W. Scott Persons, , Philip J. Currie
Bipedalism is a trait basal to, and widespread among, dinosaurs. It has been previously argued that bipedalism arose in the ancestors of dinosaurs for the function of freeing the forelimbs to serve as predatory weapons. However, this argument does not explain why bipedalism was retained among numerous herbivorous groups of dinosaurs. We argue that bipedalism arose in the dinosaur line for the purpose of enhanced cursoriality. Modern facultatively bipedal lizards offer an analog for the first stages in the evolution of dinosaurian bipedalism. Many extant lizards assume a bipedal stance while attempting to flee predators at maximum speed. Bipedalism, when combined with a caudofemoralis musculature, has cursorial advantages because the caudofemoralis provides a greater source of propulsion to the hindlimbs than is generally available to the forelimbs. That cursorial advantage explains the relative abundance of cursorial facultative bipeds and obligate bipeds among fossil diapsids and the relative scarcity of either among mammals. Having lost their caudofemoralis in the Permian, perhaps in the context of adapting to a fossorial lifestyle, the mammalian line has been disinclined towards bipedalism, but, having never lost the caudofemoralis of their ancestors, cursorial avemetatarsalians (bird-line archosaurs) were naturally inclined towards bipedalism.
Although the external appearances of most mammals are drab browns and grays used to match their backgrounds, certain species stand out as exceptions, perhaps the most notable being the giant panda. Using a comparative phylogenetic approach, we examined associations between different pelage regions and socioecological variables across carnivores and ursid subspecies to shed light on the giant panda’s black and white pelage coloration. Analyses of fur color and background environments suggest that the giant panda’s white face, nape, dorsum, flank, belly, and rump are adapted for crypsis against a snowy background, whereas its black shoulders and legs are adapted for crypsis in shade. Dark markings on the head are not used in crypsis, however, but in communication: Dark ears may be involved with signaling intent about ferocity whereas dark eye marks may serve in individual recognition. There is no compelling support for their fur color being involved in temperature regulation, disrupting the animal’s outline, or in reducing eye glare. We infer that the giant panda’s unique pelage coloration serves a constellation of functions that enable it to match its background in different environments and to communicate using facial features.
An analysis of nearly 30,000 patients undergoing liver transplantation in the United States between 2008 and 2014 found elevated death and organ loss rates in the first 5 years after transplantation among recipients with the highest use of opioid pain medications while on the waiting list. Higher risks mainly emerged after the first transplant anniversary, a pattern that may in part reflect sustained opioid use. Sixty five percent of those with the highest level of opioid use on the waiting list continued moderate to high level use in the first year after transplantation.
Global priority list of antibiotic-resistant bacteria to guide research, discovery, and development of new antibiotics03 Mar 2017 Scritto da World Healt Organization
The World Health Organization was requested by Member States to develop a global priority pathogens list (global PPL) of antibiotic-resistant bacteria to help in prioritizing the research and development (R&D) of new and effective antibiotic treatments. To date, the selection of pathogens for R&D activities has been largely guided by small and large pharmaceutical companies according to a variety of parameters, such as perceived/unmet medical need, pressure of investors, market size, scientific discovery potential, and availability of specific technologies. Previous PPLs, issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
New autoimmune disease triggered by thymomas
A Japanese research group has discovered that a newly-identified autoimmune endocrine disease that leads to hypopituitarism is caused by thymomas (a type of tumor originating from the thymic gland). These underlying mechanisms could help to understand and develop a treatment for similar autoimmune diseases. These findings were published on February 20 in the online edition of Scientific Reports. The research group was led by Associate Professor TAKAHASHI Yutaka, Research Fellow BANDO Hironori, and Associate Professor IGUCHI Genzo in Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine.