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BMRCL Recruitment for the post of Deputy General Manager and Executive Assistant , Apply Now

BMRCL Recruitment for the post of Deputy General Manager and Executive Assistant , Apply Now

Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited has announced vacancies for the post of Deputy General Manager and Executive Assistant. Candidates who are eligible with all the required qualification and wish to get a government job in a very reputed organization and are prepared for getting it every day now has the golden opportunity to apply in this post. Those candidates who have done MBA, MCA, M.Tech from any recognized institute can apply for the post.SALARY - As per the rules of the department.Important Dates And InformationPost Name - General Manager, Deputy General Manager, Assistant General Manager, and othersTotal no. <br> of Post - 16Last Date of Application: - 31-8-2020Location - BangaloreRecruitment Details 2020Selection ProcessThose candidates who are eligible will appear for the written exam and then shortlisted candidates will be called for an interview and selection will be based on that only.Application ProcessThe candidate can participate in the written exam by sending the application along with the documents required on the website of the department before 31-8-2020For more government jobs of KarnatakaTo go to the official department websiteTo download the official departmental release<br><br><b>Author:Naukri Nama</b><br><b>Source:https://m.dailyhunt.in/news/india/english/naukri+nama-epaper-nknama/bmrcl+recruitment+for+the+post+of+deputy+general+manager+and+executive+assistant+apply+now-newsid-n206481772</b>

JAY PRAKASH RAJWAR

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Back to school: How to help kids get used to wearing masks

Back to school: How to help kids get used to wearing masks

Social distancing, hand hygiene and wearing mask are the best preventive measures to protect yourself and others from the COVID-19 infection until a vaccine arrives. Wearing a face mask is not a new thing for those working in the healthcare sector. But it can become pretty uncomfortable with others, who are not used to donning it. Given the present health crisis, people are being compelled to adapt to the new normal of wearing masks in public places. While adults can learn to get used to it, it can be a little tricky for kids. <br> With many states considering the reopening of schools from next month, it has become more important now to make your kids understand the significance of wearing a mask during the pandemic and how to use it properly. COVID-19: Know how to check if you have the right face maskAs children will be required to wear a mask at schools, we thought of helping worried parents by offering some experts tips on making kids comfortable with face coverings. COVID-19 mental health fallout: Women more stressed than men during the lockdownLet them know the benefits of wearing a maskDon't persuade or force them to wear a mask. Instead, encourage them to do it by themselves by explaining to them the benefits of using face coverings. Use simple and age-appropriate language while talking to your kid about the ongoing pandemic. Tell them that this is the need of the hour and that we all have to fight it together. Also, let them choose their own mask so that they get excited about it and feel a sense of ownership. COVID-19 Live Updates: Cases in India surge to 24,61,190 as death toll reaches 48,040Make them start practicing from now onDon't take the practice session too seriously or make it a compulsion for your kids. Do it in a fun way. For example, give them a mask or fabric and let them put it on their toys (stuffed animals could be the best models for their experiment), before trying on themselves.Show them how to wear it correctly by doing it yourself. Children often copy what their parents do, and so if don't wear a mask, it will be difficult to convince them to take the preventive measure.But ask them what they think about this new normal and what issues they face while donning the mask so that you can look for other ways to make it more comfortable/ less uncomfortable.Are masks safe for small children?The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) just released new guidance that says all children who are 2 and older, including those with underlying health conditions, can safely wear masks.Masks can keep your kids safe from infections, especially when they are around other kids. It can also reduce the spread of COVID-19 - AAP said.Like adults, kids can wear the mask as long as they need to - according to experts at the AAP.Parents have many concerns about making kids wear face masks. Some people think that face coverings can make it harder for kids to breathe, or interfere with their lung development, or they may become less attentive in school. These are all myths, according to the AAP.<br><br><b>Author:The HealthSite</b><br><b>Source:https://m.dailyhunt.in/news/india/english/the+healthsite-epaper-heleng/back+to+school+how+to+help+kids+get+used+to+wearing+masks-newsid-n206474218</b>

Amit Gill

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This new test can diagnose COVID-19 in just 20 minutes

This new test can diagnose COVID-19 in just 20 minutes

COVID-19 cases are increasing day by day. In India, the number of confirmed cases are inching closer to the 25 lakh mark and more than 48,000 people have already lost their lives to the disease. The pandemic is raging on unabated across the world and, in the absence of a definite cure or vaccine, precautions and containment measures need to be done on a war footing. Rapid and accurate testing will go a long way in helping stop the transmission of this disease viral. <br> Today, we have many tests for COVID-19. But most of these are time-consuming and require an elaborate process and bulky equipment. To work around this problem, researchers have developed a portable test that is not only fast and easy to use but also provides accurate results. Back to school: How to help kids get used to wearing masksThe STOP-LAMP testA new study at the University of Melbourne in Australia has led to the development of a new and more accurate test for the COVID-19 infection. In an ongoing fight against the novel coronavirus, the researchers have developed a new test that can diagnose Covid-19 in just 20 minutes. The findings, published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology, show the rapid molecular test called N1-STOP-LAMP, is 100 per cent accurate in diagnosing samples containing SARS-CoV-2 at high loads. According to researchers, this new test, the STOP-LAMP is what's referred to as a 'near care' test. It is not intended to replace the current gold standard PCR testing. It is a robust diagnostic test for the specific and rapid detection of COVID-19. But researchers say that it is important to note that it trades some detection sensitivity for speed and ease-of-use. COVID-19: Know how to check if you have the right face maskEasy to use and cost effectiveAccording to the researchers, the test is highly accurate and easy to use, making it a prime candidate for use in settings with limited testing capabilities. The method involves using a small portable machine, which can reliably detect SARS-CoV-2 from just one nasal swab. In the race to control the COVID-19 pandemic, access to rapid, precision diagnostics is key, the research team said. COVID-19 mental health fallout: Women more stressed than men during the lockdownThis is an alternative COVID-19 molecular test that can be readily deployed in settings where access to standard laboratory testing is limited or where ultra-rapid result turnaround times are needed. The study revealed that this new test uses only one tube and involves only a single step, making it more efficient and lower cost than many of the current tests for SARS-CoV-2.Portable test that gives fast resultsThe N1-STOP-LAMP method was found to be 100 per cent accurate and correctly identified 87 per cent of tests as positive when used to assess 157 confirmed-positive samples. The results were fast, with an average time-to-positive of 14 minutes for 93 of those clinical samples. This kind of technology is good in settings liked aged care facilities or overseas laboratories with limited resources and equipment. The test requires a small shoebox-sized machine, as well as reagents, but everything is portable.(With inputs from IANS)<br><br><b>Author:The HealthSite</b><br><b>Source:https://m.dailyhunt.in/news/india/english/the+healthsite-epaper-heleng/this+new+test+can+diagnose+covid+19+in+just+20+minutes-newsid-n206474216</b>

Achyuit Singh

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Spurt in investor participation in markets thanks to technology: NSE Chief

Spurt in investor participation in markets thanks to technology: NSE Chief

A Platform for Investor Education<br> <br><p>(PIE) aimed at enhancing financial literacy was launched on Friday by the Centre for Capital Markets and Risk Management at IIM Bangalore (IIMB) and the National Stock Exchange of India Limited's (NSE) Investor Protection Fund Trust.It is an easy to navigate, free and product-neutral platform that aims to enhance financial literacy, according to a statement issued by the IIMB.<br><br><br><br><br> <br><p>Content is available on PIE on demand, allowing investors to access at their convenience, it said.<br> <br><p>Experts and experienced faculty make the offerings on PIE relevant for the entire spectrum of investors, from first-time investors to experienced investors, the statement said.<br> <br><p>There are four learning modules, each comprising videos, podcasts, deep-dives and blog posts with a separate section for discussion. Animation and data visualisation technology is used to actively engage different cohorts of potential investors, it was stated.<br> <br><p>Executive Director of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Nagendraa Parakh, NSE Managing Director and CEO Vikram Limaye and IIMB Director Prof. Rishikesha T. Krishnan launched the platform with the event being live streamed.<br> <br><p>Addressing the virtual gathering of students, faculty and alumni of IIMB, professionals and academics at the launch, Limaye said an increasing number of retail investors, particularly from tier-2 and tier-3 cities, have been actively contributing to Indias growth story, reflecting the booming interest in capital markets among people from all socio- economic strata.<br> <br><p>One of the major reasons behind this change can be attributed to improving investor education via enhanced availability of information on digital media and growing awareness among people about newer financial asset classes apart from conventional fixed deposits and other such avenues, he said.<br> <br><p>"The audio content (on PIE) is available in multiple languages, making it accessible to investors across the country, Limaye observed, adding technology has enabled more people participating in the markets, creating a spurt in the number of investors during the pandemic, according to the statement.<br> <br><p>Krishnan said the PIE will benefit from "the innovative research initiatives" by the faculty at IIMB, and will therefore reflect the current developments in financial markets, adding, it will certainly work as an enabler for investors.(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)Content is available on PIE on demand, allowing investors to access at their convenience, it said.Experts and experienced faculty make the offerings on PIE relevant for the entire spectrum of investors, from first-time investors to experienced investors, the statement said.There are four learning modules, each comprising videos, podcasts, deep-dives and blog posts with a separate section for discussion. Animation and data visualisation technology is used to actively engage different cohorts of potential investors, it was stated.Executive Director of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Nagendraa Parakh, NSE Managing Director and CEO Vikram Limaye and IIMB Director Prof. Rishikesha T. Krishnan launched the platform with the event being live streamed.Addressing the virtual gathering of students, faculty and alumni of IIMB, professionals and academics at the launch, Limaye said an increasing number of retail investors, particularly from tier-2 and tier-3 cities, have been actively contributing to Indias growth story, reflecting the booming interest in capital markets among people from all socio- economic strata.One of the major reasons behind this change can be attributed to improving investor education via enhanced availability of information on digital media and growing awareness among people about newer financial asset classes apart from conventional fixed deposits and other such avenues, he said."The audio content (on PIE) is available in multiple languages, making it accessible to investors across the country, Limaye observed, adding technology has enabled more people participating in the markets, creating a spurt in the number of investors during the pandemic, according to the statement.Krishnan said the PIE will benefit from "the innovative research initiatives" by the faculty at IIMB, and will therefore reflect the current developments in financial markets, adding, it will certainly work as an enabler for investors.(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)<br><br><b>Author:Press Trust of India <p><p><p><p><p><p><p><p> <p><p><p><p><p><p><p><p> |  <br><p><p><p><p><p><p><p><p> <p><p><p><p><p><p><p><p> <p><p><p><p><p><p><p><p> Bengaluru</b><br><b>Source:https://www.business-standard.com/article/markets/spurt-in-investor-participation-in-markets-thanks-to-technology-nse-chief-120081401398_1.html</b>

Sanjana Bhat

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Key gene identified for improving multiple sclerosis treatment

Key gene identified for improving multiple sclerosis treatment

The disease multiple sclerosis (MS) attacks the central nervous system and, with time, can give rise to muscle tremors and loss of balance. Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have now identified a gene, Gsta4, that protects a certain kind of cell in the brain from being destroyed. It is hoped that the results of the study, which is published in Nature Communications, can help to improve the treatment of this serious disease.<br> <br><br><br><br><br> "Taken together, our findings are particularly interesting for several reasons," says corresponding author Karl Carlström, researcher at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet. "Too little is known about the mechanisms behind progressive MS, by which I mean the phase of the disease in which oligodendrocytes and neurons in the brain die without re-forming." <br>Brain neurons can be likened to electric wires, the protective and insulating sheathes of which are essential to their purpose. The cells that provide such insulation are called oligodendrocytes and it is these that the immune system attacks in an early phase of MS.<br>Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have studied possible mechanisms influencing both how well oligodendrocytes mature into functional cells and their survival during this process.<br>MS is a disease of the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) and can last for many years, leading in many cases to, among other problems, loss of sensation, tremors, difficulties walking, mood swings and visual impairment.<br>Efficacious drugs<br>In an early phase of MS, the oligodendrocytes are able to re-form and mature into new insulating cells, thus restoring neuronal functionality in the patient. However, this function is gradually blocked and with it the ability of the protective, insulating cells to fully mature. Since scientists do not know why this is, there is currently no treatment available.<br>"In our study we identify a gene called Gsta4, which is especially important to the maturation process of oligodendrocytes. Interestingly, it seems some known and future MS drugs speed up this process in rats through this very gene. Remove Gsta4 and they lose this effect."<br>By experimenting on rats, the researchers have been able to show that oligodendrocytes with high levels of Gsta4 mature more quickly and are much more viable than those with normal levels of the gene. This means that damage in the form of compromised insulation around neurons can more quickly be repaired.<br>Prevents cell-death<br>One way the gene seems to do this is by preventing death (apoptotic) signaling in the oligodendrocytes. These signals can be triggered by a range of factors and also involve the cells' power plants, or mitochondria, which seem to be protected by high Gsta4 levels.<br>Finally, the researchers are able to show that at high Gsta4 levels, recovery occurs more quickly in an experimental model for MS than in animals with normal levels of the gene. The study shows that during cell growth and maturity, it is vital that the mitochondria are protected and the apoptotic signals limited.<br>The results can provide knowledge about MS and the mechanism of action of the drugs in use, or soon to be used, for MS.<br> <br><br><b>Author:Karolinska Institutet</b><br><b>Source:https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-08-key-gene-multiple-sclerosis-treatment.html</b>

Smriti Kumari

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Finding the source of an outbreak is important. But the term 'patient zero' is a problem

Finding the source of an outbreak is important. But the term 'patient zero' is a problem

Security guards at Melbourne's quarantine hotels have been widely blamed for Victoria's current outbreak of COVID-19.<br> <br><br><br><br><br> Reports have suggested they mixed inappropriately with people under quarantine, and did not properly follow instructions around infection control.<br>But late yesterday we heard the first positive case was in fact a night manager at Rydges on Swanston, one of the hotels at the center of the quarantine bungle. We don't know how this person became infected, but there's no suggestion it was a result of any improper behavior.<br>This night manager has now become known as "patient zero" in Victoria's second wave of coronavirus infections. But what does this term actually mean?<br>The beginning of the chain of infections<br>The first case in a chain of infections is popularly called "patient zero." However, "patient zero" is not a very precise term. <br>In epidemiological language, we call the first case in an outbreak to come to the attention of investigators the "index case." The actual individual who introduced the disease at the start of the outbreak is called the "primary case."<br>According to these definitions, because the night manager was the first person recorded as being infected at the hotel (apart from the guests, who of course were already under quarantine), he or she would be the index case. However, the night manager was also the person who started the chain of infections, so he or she was also the primary case. <br>The one thing the night manager is not, however, is "patient zero." That expression should really be reserved for the first human ever to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the coronavirus that causes COVID-19).<br>Origins of patient zero<br><br><br><br><br><br><br>The expression "patient zero" originated from the HIV epidemic in the United States. <br>Reports emerged in early 1982 of sexual links between several gay men with AIDS in Los Angeles, and investigators from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) interviewed these men for the names of their sexual contacts. <br>The CDC gave each of the cases pseudonyms, and the person they eventually identified as the first to have the disease had a moniker beginning with the letter "O."<br>This was later mistakenly interpreted as a zero, and so we got the expression "patient zero" for the first known case of a disease.<br>Why finding patient zero is important<br>It's important for epidemiologists to find the first known case because it helps work out how the outbreak occurred, and gives us an idea of how to prevent further outbreaks in the future. <br>For example, scientists believe the COVID-19 pandemic started in the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. If this proves to be correct (an international investigation is underway to determine this), authorities may choose to close wet markets, or at least better regulate them to prevent future outbreaks.<br>Beyond "patient zero" in the sense of the first ever case of a disease, it's also important to find the first case in each particular outbreak.<br>In the case of the Rydges hotel night manager, this person would clearly have been infected by one of the hotel's quarantined guests. Authorities now need to determine exactly how, where and when this person became infected, so they can tighten procedures to make sure this doesn't happen again. <br>New Zealand is in a similar situation with its current COVID-19 outbreak. Until health authorities can work out who the primary case is, it will be very difficult to determine where the infection came from, and what actions they must take to ensure it's not repeated. <br>Potentially, the primary case in this outbreak could have picked it up from a contaminated surface, a breakdown in quarantine regulations, or simply an asymptomatic person moving around in the community. <br>A political blame game<br>Unfortunately, finding out how Victoria's second-wave outbreak started seems to have become a political blame game rather than a serious attempt to prevent it happening again. <br>The current finger-pointing is not only counterproductive—it could easily see the night manager designated as patient zero unfairly stigmatized, when that person is most likely blameless.<br>Richard McKay, a Cambridge academic who has written extensively on the concept of patient zero, captured the issue perfectly in an earlier Conversation article: <br>"Writing of a patient zero is a damaging red herring that distracts from constructive efforts to contain the epidemic. Let's wash our hands of this toxic phrase."<br> <br><br><b>Author:Adrian Esterman, The Conversation</b><br><b>Source:https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-08-source-outbreak-important-term-patient.html</b>

Barkha Rani

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On reckoning with the fact of one's death

On reckoning with the fact of one's death

A friend is sending me documents needed to make me the executor of his will. He does not expect to die from this pandemic but he has enough weaknesses in his body to be fairly sure he would not survive the virus if it gets to him. He is not as old as I am but he is not young either. He is clear-sighted enough to know what he must do now: stay at home. He is also clear-sighted enough to admit into his thinking the common fact of death.<br> <br><br><br><br><br> And common fact it is—about 160,000 Australians die in the course of each year —though every death is a particular death and no single death can be quite like another. From a certain distance, it looks as if we must all enter this darkness or this blinding light by the same gate when we die, and from that point of view our common destination is undeniable. <br>But from another point of view, the one taken in Kafka's famous parable, Before the Law, each of us stands at a particular gate made for us, a gate no other person can go through. Making a similar point, "Death is a black camel that kneels at every person's gate," goes a Turkish proverb.<br>I am a little shocked by my friend's matter-of-fact approach to the idea of his death; and I am comforted by his attitude as well. At least he is not leaving matters to bureaucrats or stolid workers who might think his death is much the same as all other deaths. <br>As a friend, I have always valued him for the no-nonsense realism he brings to bear on our lives, and for the creativity with which he has approached every experience of his life. I tell him I will be happy to sign the documents and, if needed, to act as his executor. He says it will be simple. He has everything in labeled boxes and files.<br>When I talk to another friend who is a doctor at a Melbourne hospital, she speaks of the bruise on her nose from wearing a tight mask all day every day, of the sweating inside her protective plastic garments, of washing and disinfecting her hands after taking off each item of protective clothing at the end of a shift. <br>She says she thinks it is only a matter of time before she will be infected with the virus. She is young and her chances of survival are high, she says. I am shocked all over again by the way she thinks—or must think if she is to continue to do this work.<br>This fearful companion<br>Another day and there are nearly 2,000 people from aged care homes sick with the virus, and a record number of deaths reported for two days running. Grieving families are interviewed on television and on the radio. <br><br><br><br><br><br><br>I am living at home now with my death a definite shadow in my mind. I am 70, which makes me vulnerable. Many of us, I know, are in our homes with this fearful companion so full of its own patience and fierce focus.<br>One mercy is that I don't have to be worrying about my parents, who both died three years ago after reaching their nineties. Their deaths followed the familiar pattern: a series of falls, an illness that brings pneumonia with it, a descent into morphine assisted sleep, then days of dragging in those last breaths as though they are being counted down. <br>But their deaths were particular too. My father was exhausted, I believe, and my mother was not ready to go. She fought through to those last breaths with all the fight she had in her. <br>In 1944 Carl Jung suffered a heart attack after breaking his foot, and was in a coma for three weeks. In a brief memoir of this experience, he describes floating out into near space where he could look down on the planet, then entering a light-filled rock that seemed to be a temple with a room inside where he was sure he would meet all the people who had been important to him, and where he would finally understand what kind of life he had lived.<br>At the entrance to this room, his doctor called him back to earth where there seemed to be a continuing need for his presence. He had to forego the experience of death, he wrote. He was 69 and he would live for another 17 years. For those who were caring for him, he might have looked like any patient in a coma and near death, but for him this was a particular moment of reckoning and even joyous anticipation.<br>Watching my parents die was its own shock after witnessing the deterioration in their bodies and minds as they aged, the reduction of their lives to a hospital bed, closed eyes, machines attached, the days-long struggle to breathe. It was almost unbearable to be near this and almost impossible to keep away as the time left became shorter. <br>Now in the time of this virus a painful new imposition bears down upon the families of the dying for they cannot even stand by the bed of a dying parent or grandparent or partner. The sadness of this immeasurable. <br>In an essay about death, called On Practice, Michel Montaigne mentioned that "practice is no help in the greatest task we have to perform: dying."<br>In this matter we are all apprentices. But is there some way of breaking ourselves in for death, or must we always work and work to keep both death and the thought of death at bay?<br>When my sister died of cancer at 49, I remember her patting our young daughter's hand the day before she died, saying to her, "Don't cry, I'll be all right. I promise you I will be all right."<br>At the time I thought she was in denial, or that perhaps she thought that she needed to protect us from the heavy presence of death.<br>But now I think she might have been looking past us and even past herself: we do die and it is all right—and every living thing that moves only moves under the condition of its coming death. She might have been seeing this well enough to embrace its truth. I don't know.<br>"A second, a minute, longer"<br>Today the sun was out, a low winter sun sparkling through the twisted branches of our back yard ornamental pear trees, and I could not resist going out into the sunshine to weed around the carrots and beetroot, and take up the last of the autumn leaves from under the parsley bushes. I felt lucky to have these few minutes with the warmth of the sun on the back of my neck.<br>I have been reading Svetlana Alexievich's Chernobyl Prayer, and somewhere near the end she records the words of a physicist dying of cancer from the Chernobyl fallout. He said, "I thought I only had days, a very few days, left to live, and I desperately wanted not to die. I was suddenly seeing every leaf, bright colors, a bright sky, the vivid gray of tarmac, the cracks in it with ants clambering about in them. "No," I thought to myself, "I need to walk round them." I pitied them. I did not want them to die. The aroma of the forest made me feel dizzy. I perceived smell more vividly than color. Light birch trees, ponderous firs. Was I never to see this anymore? I wanted to live a second, a minute longer!"<br>This reaction is deeply understandable, and each of us shares this feeling, even if only faintly, every morning that we find we have the world in our world again—for perhaps a whole day. Each time I read that paragraph I misread "I desperately wanted not to die" as "I desperately wanted to die."<br>This urge to stay at home is almost matched by the urge to be out in the world rubbing shoulders with crowds. The desire to save my own life is mixed somehow with a desire to have it over with. My misreading troubles me, but it keeps happening.<br>A woman I know who is 30 years old answers, when I ask her how she feels about the growing numbers of aged victims to this pandemic, that there need to be more public "death-positive" campaigns in order to make death a more natural part of life in our culture—to make of it something we need not fear so much or become so angry over.<br>Though she speaks as if death belongs to other kinds of being than her, she makes some good sense because this is the other side of our attitude to death. Sometimes I lie in bed and count the likely number of days I might have left to me, and it always seems both a lot and not enough. And then I forget what the number was because after all, how can there even be a world without me in it?<br>Some years ago our dear neighbor Anna said she had decided it was time for her to die. There was nothing else she wanted. We had watched her nurse her husband through dementia for a decade, we had many afternoon teas with her as she fussed over our children and showed us the latest thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle she was completing. She talked about the books she was reading. And then one day she was ready to go.<br>Not long after that I visited her, more or less unconscious in a hospital bed. My amazement at her decision to go. But now, as I inch closer to old age, I imagine I might be able to understand how her decision was as much a matter of the mind as the body.<br>An American news service has reported that across 24 hours one person every minute died in the United States from COVID-19. I am not sure how to understand this kind of counting. It conjures images of queues of bodies, of frantic funeral directors and grieving families. It speeds up the mind and produces in me a feeling of panic. <br>Every minute across each day of the year about seven babies are born in the U.S.. A lot happens in a minute across a whole nation. Numbers tel.......<br><br><b>Author:Kevin John Brophy, The Conversation</b><br><b>Source:https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-08-reckoning-fact-death.html</b>

Sourav Singh

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Digital transformation will be key to ensuring survival of theatre industry during coronavirus, research shows

Digital transformation will be key to ensuring survival of theatre industry during coronavirus, research shows

Digital transformation will be key to ensuring the survival of the theater industry during coronavirus because people are willing to pay to see shows online, new research shows.<br><br> <br> <br><br><br><br><br><br>Virtual performances can help theaters to keep functioning in lockdown or when outdoor performance is not possible.<br>Around three quarters of those who responded to a new survey said they would purchase tickets to watch a live Zoom theater production at any time, even when theaters were re-opened.<br>Audiences said participating in Zoom performances made them feel part of a community and provided them the opportunity to do something with friends and family. They also said it reduced feelings of isolation and loneliness.<br>The research, by Professor Pascale Aebischer and Dr. Rachael Nicholas, from the University of Exeter, was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council as part of the UKRI COVID-19 Research and Innovation funding.<br>Experts have analyzed the lessons learned from the successful digital transformation of Oxford's Creation Theater and its co-production with Big Telly of "The Tempest" on Zoom earlier this year during lockdown. Academics surveyed thirteen administrative and creative staff involved in the production and analyzed 93 responses to an online questionnaire sent to audiences who attended a Zoom performance of "The Tempest" in April and May 2020.<br>Their report of initial findings includes a digital toolkit for companies who want to produce live digital theater while working remotely, and the report also has advice on Zoom performance offered by Creation Theater's "The Tempest" team, a set of guidelines drawn up in consultation with a representative of Equity, and a checklist for Zoom performance compiled with Creation Theater's Production Manager.<br>Professor Aebischer said: "Although efforts to provide free art content during lockdown has been appreciated, we need to ensure this doesn't become a substitute for audiences paying for tickets. This creates jobs, new productions and ensures freelancers—who make up around half of all staff in the industry—can continue working in the industry. While many in the industry are focusing their efforts on bringing back physical performances in outdoor settings, with winter approaching and the threat of further lockdowns, the ability to switch rapidly back to a digital mode of performances will be ever more important to the survival of the industry."<br><br><br><br><br><br><br>Most people who took part in the research said they wanted to watch an adaptation of a well-known play or novel, suggesting that familiarity with a work may be an important factor in audiences wanting to engage with Zoom theater. However, similar proportions of respondents also said they would be interested in watching new work.<br>When the production of "The Tempest" had been performed the year before, it reached 3,368 individual audience members with summer visitors from 11 countries. The Zoom version in 2020 reached more than 1,200 households in 27 different countries, allowing the company to develop its audience in exciting new ways and provide access to its shows to people previously excluded from theater-going.<br>The critical and financial success of the production, for which Creation Theater charged £20 per viewing device, is helping it stay open during lockdown, make a small profit and continue to produce new work with an international reach. The overwhelming majority of those surveyed said the performance was good value for money, particularly as they were charged per-device, and 79 percent said they would be willing to pay to watch other Zoom theater, both in and out of lockdown.<br>Audiences said they found it easy, or very easy to use Zoom technology during the performance. Watching live as the actors performed was important to them, as was the fact the production was designed so they could participate and feel a sense of community as an audience.<br>Challenges include Zoom fatigue, which affects performers and viewers. Performers also had to cope with Zoom time lag, and use mobile phones, improvisation skills and the goodwill of audiences to cope with internet disruption.<br>The Zoom production was also effective at reaching new audiences. 27 percent of respondents said that they had not heard of Creation Theater before watching the Zoom production. A total of 13 percent of respondents said that they rarely attended live theater performances.<br> <br> <br><br><b>Author:University of Exeter</b><br><b>Source:https://phys.org/news/2020-08-digital-key-survival-theatre-industry.html</b>

NIRAJ KUMAR

GjQm7XMB8MTbICo7mNCF

In COVID's shadow, global terrorism goes quiet. But we have seen this before, and should be wary

In COVID's shadow, global terrorism goes quiet. But we have seen this before, and should be wary

Have we flattened the curve of global terrorism? In our COVID-19-obsessed news cycle stories about terrorism and terrorist attacks have largely disappeared. We now, though, understand a little more about how pandemics work.<br><br> <br> <br><br><br><br><br><br>And ironically, long before the current pandemic, the language of epidemiology proved helpful in understanding by analogy the way in which terrorism works as a phenomenon that depends on social contact and exchange, and expands rapidly in an opportunistic fashion when defenses are lowered.<br>Terrorism goes quiet—but we've seen this before<br>In this pandemic year, it appears one piece of good news is that the curve of international terrorist attacks has indeed been flattened. Having lost its physical caliphate, Islamic State also appears to have lost its capacity, if not its willingness, to launch attacks around the world well beyond conflict zones.<br>We have seen this happen before. The September 11 attacks in 2001 were followed by a wave of attacks around the world. Bali in October 2002, Riyadh, Casablanca, Jakarta and Istanbul in 2003, Madrid in March 2004, followed by Khobar in May, then London in July 2005 and Bali in October, not to mention numerous other attacks in the Middle East and West Asia. <br>Since 2005, with the exception of the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris in January 2015, al-Qaeda has been prevented from launching any major attacks in western capitals.<br>The September 11 attacks precipitated enormous investment in police counterterrorism capacity around the world, particularly in intelligence. The result has been that al-Qaeda has struggled to put together large-scale coordinated attacks in Western capitals without being detected and stopped.<br><br><br><br><br><br><br>Then in 2013, Islamic State emerged. This brought a new wave of attacks from 2014 in cities around the world, outside of conflict zones in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Nigeria.<br>This wave of IS international terror attacks now appears to have reached an end. The hopeful rhetoric of the collapse of the IS caliphate leading to an end of the global campaign of terror attacks appears to have been borne out. Although, as the sophisticated and coordinated suicide bombings in Colombo in Easter 2019 reminded us, further attacks by previously unknown cells cannot ever be ruled out.<br>While it's tempting to conclude that the ending of the current wave of international terrorist attacks by IS is due largely to the ending of the physical caliphate in Syria and Iraq, and a concomitant collapse of capacity, the reality is more complex. Just as the wave of al-Qaeda attacks in the first half of the 2000s was curtailed primarily by massive investments in counterterrorism, so too it appears to be the case with IS international terror plots in the second half of this decade. <br>The 2019 attacks in Sri Lanka illustrate dramatically what happens when there is a failure of intelligence, whether due to capacity or, as appears to be the case in Sri Lanka, a lack of political will. The rise of IS in 2013-14 should not have caught us by surprise, but it did, and in 2014 and 2015 we were scrambling to get up to speed with the intelligence challenge.<br>Epidemiology of terror<br>The parallels with the epidemiology of viruses are striking. Reasoning by analogy is imperfect, but it can be a powerful way of prompting reflection. The importance of this cannot be underestimated as intelligence failures in counterterrorism, like poor political responses to pandemics, are in large part failures of imagination. <br>We don't see what we don't want to see, and we set ourselves up to become victims of our own wishful thinking. So, with two waves of international terrorist attacks over the past two decades largely brought under control, what can we say about the underlying threat of global terrorism?<br>There are four key lessons we need to learn. <br>First, we are ultimately seeking to counter the viral spread of ideas and narratives embodied in social networks and spread person-to-person through relationships, whether in person or online. Effective policing and intelligence built on strong community relations can dramatically limit the likelihood of terrorist networks successfully executing large-scale attacks. Effective intelligence can also go a long way to diminishing the frequency and intensity of lone-actor attacks. But this sort of intelligence is even more dependent on strong community relations, built on trust that emboldens people to speak out.<br>Second, terrorist movements, being opportunistic and parasitic, achieve potency in inverse relation to the level of good governance. In other words, as good governance breaks down, terrorist movements find opportunity to embed themselves. In failing states, the capacity of the state to protect its citizens, and the trust between citizen and authorities, provides ample opportunities for terrorist groups to exploit grievances and needs. This is the reason around 75% of all deaths due to terrorist activity in recent years have occurred in just five nations: Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria (followed by Somalia, Libya, and Yemen).<br>The third lesson is directly linked to state failure, and is that military methods dramatically overpromise and under-deliver when it comes to countering terrorism. In fact, more than that, the use of military force tends to generate more problems than it solves. Nothing illustrates this more clearly than what has been so wrongly framed as the Global War on Terror.<br>Beginning in October 2001 in the immediate wake of the September 11 attacks, the war on terror began with a barrage of attacks on al-Qaeda positions in Afghanistan. It was spurred by understandable anger, but it led to two decades of tremendously expensive military campaigns they have completely failed to deliver the hoped-for end in terrorism to justify the massive toll of violence and loss of life.<br>The military campaign in Afghanistan began, and has continued for almost 19 years, without any strategic endpoints being defined and indeed with no real strategy vision at all. After almost two decades of continuous conflict, any American administration would understandably want to end the military campaign and withdraw. <br>Obama talked of doing this but was unable to do so. Trump campaigned on it as one of the few consistent features of his foreign policy thinking. Hence the current negotiations to dramatically reduce American troop numbers, and in the process trigger a reduction in allied coalition troops while releasing thousands of detained militants in response to poorly defined and completely un-guaranteed promises of a reduction in violence by the Taliban.<br>This is America's way of ending decades of stalemate in which it is has proven impossible to defeat the Taliban, which even now controls almost one half of Afghanistan. But even as the peace negotiations have been going on the violence has continued unabated. The only reason for withdrawing and allowing the Taliban to formally take a part in governing Afghanistan is fatigue.<br>Not just Afghanistan<br>If the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan were the main story, the situation would already be far more dire then we would care to accept. But the problem is not limited to Afghanistan and West Asia. The invasion of Iraq in 2003 by the "coalition of the willing" was justified largely on the grounds it was necessary to stop al-Qaeda from establishing a presence in Iraq. It achieved, of course, the exact opposite.<br>Al-Qaeda had little, if any, presence in Iraq prior to the invasion. But the ensuring collapse of not just the regime of Saddam Hussein but the dismantling of the Baath party and the Iraqi military, led largely by a Sunni minority in a Shia majority country, created perfect storm conditions for multiple Sunni insurgencies. <br>These in turn came to be dominated by the group that styled itself first as Al Qaeda in Iraq, then as the Islamic State in Iraq, and then as the Islamic state in Iraq and Syria. This powerful insurgency was almost completely destroyed in the late 2000s when Sunni tribes were paid and equipped to fight the al-Qaeda insurgency.<br>The toxic sectarian politics of Iraq, followed by the withdrawal of US troops at the end of 2011, coinciding with the outbreak of civil war in Syria, saw the almost extinguished insurgency quickly rebuild. We only really began to pay attention when IS led a blitzkrieg across northern Iraq, seized Mosul, and declared a caliphate in June 2014.<br>Defeating this quasi-state took years of extraordinarily costly military engagement. But even as IS was deprived of the last of its safe havens on the ground, analysts were warning it continued to have tens of thousands of insurgent militants in Syria and northern Iraq and was successfully returning to its earlier mode of insurgency.<br>As the Iraqi security forces have been forced to pull back in the face of a steadily building COVID-19 pandemic, there are signs the IS insurgent forces have continued to seize the spaces left open to them. Even without the pandemic, the insurgency was always going to steadily build strength, b.......<br><br><b>Author:The Conversation</b><br><b>Source:https://phys.org/news/2020-08-covid-shadow-global-terrorism-quiet.html</b>

Nitish Kumar

PTQm7XMB8MTbICo7-NAO

Engineered capsids for efficient gene delivery to the eye

Engineered capsids for efficient gene delivery to the eye

A rational design approach created novel variants of adeno-associated viral (AAV) capsids. These have improved transduction properties in the mouse retina and cornea. as reported in the peer-reviewed journal Human Gene Therapy.<br> <br><br><br><br><br>The efficient gene delivery of these variants was confirmed in non-human primate tissue. "The capsid modified AAV2 and AAV5 variants described here have novel attributes that will add to the efficacy and specificity of their potential use in gene therapy for a range of human ocular diseases," said Catherine O'Riordan and coauthors from Sanofi.<br>"The structural domains of the AAV capsid have become fundamental building blocks of many gene therapy vectors. The work by Dr. O'Riordan and her colleagues takes advantage of the new age of structural biology to intelligently redesign these building blocks rather than relying on empiric screening of variants. This rational design approach holds great promise for the field," according to Editor-in-Chief of Human Gene Therapy Terence R. Flotte, MD, Celia and Isaac Haidak Professor of Medical Education and Dean, Provost, and Executive Deputy Chancellor, University of Massachusetts Medical School.<br> <br><br><b>Author:Mary Ann Liebert, Inc</b><br><b>Source:https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-08-capsids-efficient-gene-delivery-eye.html</b>

RAJ LAGURI

JcMm7XMBrfMs8Bydlx3o

How to teach teachers amidst the pandemic

How to teach teachers amidst the pandemic

In a new study published this week in The Learning Professional, a University of Colorado Denver researcher looked at best practices for educating teachers in an online environment. Known as professional learning, this type of learning is different from professional development in the sense that it is typically interactive, sustained, and customized to teachers' needs—not a one-size-fits-all workshop. It is the practice of teachers taking responsibility for their own learning, and practicing what they are learning in their own teaching contexts.<br><br> <br> <br><br><br><br><br><br>In the article, researcher Laura Summers, clinical assistant professor in the School of Education & Human Development, outlined a myriad of ways in which we can be the most prepared to engage with our teachers in virtual professional learning.<br>Why is this so critical to examine now? The pivot to online education due to the coronavirus pandemic was sharp for some—in fact, many teachers began teaching in a purely online format for the first time ever when the crisis hit. <br>For efficacious virtual professional learning, Summers emphasizes three primary rules: the learning is grounded in social and emotional learning; self-efficacy is at the forefront; and the challenges of a virtual environment are understood. <br>Work grounded in social and emotional learning<br>SEL—short for social and emotional learning—is defined by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) as the "the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions." SEL is of particular importance amidst the global pandemic, as it helps educators, families, and students manage stress, develop resilience, and maintain a sense of optimism during challenging times.<br>Summers outlines a few key competencies:<br>Build trusting relationshipsFoster self-reflectionFoster growth mindsetCultivate perseveranceCreate communityPromote collaborative learningRespond constructively across differences.<br>Empowering educators through self-efficacy<br>Self-efficacy is defined as the belief in one's capacities to be successful. Summers notes that teachers' self-efficacy is amplified when they receive coaching—even if it is conducted virtually.<br>"Teachers may film their own practices and get coaching feedback through a virtual coaching protocol, which can increase self-efficacy," says Summers. "Coaches give feedback from cycles of inquiry verified using evidence of student learning, which makes a huge difference."<br>A virtual learning community also allows participants to learn at their own pace, and on their own time. They can view filmed examples of best practices, observe and discuss them, and ask questions of their peers who are also trying new strategies. All of this leads to increased self-efficacy.<br>Recognizing virtual learning challenges<br>It is paramount that professional learning follows best practices, including ample breaks, time to collaborate, and a moment to practice what they are learning, Summers explained.<br>"Asking a teacher to attend a virtual session for more than 45 minutes at a time is not conducive to learning," says Summers. "It's important to allow for breaks from sitting at the computer if the professional learning takes place over hours or days."<br>Certain technology, such as polling, increases learners' participation in lectures, promotes connection to the content, and provides immediate feedback to the facilitator.<br>Looking Ahead<br>"As the school year begins, we need to prepare for the unknown," says Summers. "We have the opportunity to shift practices, even with limited background in online teaching, if our professional learning approaches prioritize social and emotional learning, empower educators through self-efficacy, and pay attention to adult learners' needs."<br> <br> <br><br><b>Author:University of Colorado Denver</b><br><b>Source:https://phys.org/news/2020-08-teachers-pandemic.html</b>

Ashish Mahato

OLom7XMByKmKpcDTlxxq

A three-decade 'moving picture' of young Australians' study, work, and life

A three-decade 'moving picture' of young Australians' study, work, and life

The Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth (LSAY) unpack the lives of young Australians as they leave school, enter further study or the workforce and make the transition into adulthood.<br><br> <br> <br><br><br><br><br><br>The latest findings are now available for the group of young people who completed their first questionnaire back in 2009 at age 15. This group's 11th and final survey shows young people are completing university at higher rates than ever before, while participation in apprenticeships and traineeships is taking a dive.<br>The information collected from these groups of students, or "cohorts," is used to better understand what helps or hinders this transition. This includes things like the effect of schools on year 12 completion, whether government benefits like Youth Allowance help students complete their studies, and the factors that help a young person find full-time work sooner. <br>Each cohort starts with about 14,000 students in the first survey, or "wave." From the age of 15 to 25, they complete a 20-minute survey once a year to share what's been happening in their lives. LSAY asks about their experiences at school, their post-school study and work, as well as their health and home life. <br>Six cohorts have taken part so far. The recent release of findings from the fifth cohort's final survey is a milestone, with LSAY data now available across three decades. This means we can study generational changes in transition patterns.<br>To capture the many changing events or factors that affect young peoples' transition, the survey has added questions about caring responsibilities, volunteering activities, participation in the gig economy, their personality traits and whether they have access to social support. <br>Data dating back to the '70s<br>LSAY is one of Australia's biggest and longest-running panel surveys. More than 60,000 young people have been surveyed since 1995. It's recognized as one of eight core longitudinal data assets in Australia.<br>The surveys grew out of the Youth in Transition (YIT) studies in the 1970s. The decade's oil price shocks caused unemployment to soar, with young people hit the hardest. This created a need to better understand their school-to-work transition in the face of global technological and economic change. <br><br><br><br><br><br><br>Then came the Australian Longitudinal Surveys (ALS) and Australian Youth Surveys (AYS) in the 1980s. One of the more prominent pieces of research using these data found the aptitude of new teachers fell substantially as teacher pay declined compared to other salaries.<br>These three longitudinal studies were combined to create the LSAY program. <br>Researchers mine LSAY for insights<br>More than 300 published research papers have used LSAY data. The report 25 years of LSAY: Research from the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth showcases some of the highlights.<br>LSAY research has shown working just a few hours a week while at school improves prospects of getting a full-time job. But working long hours has a slightly negative effect on school completion. The research also found females are better at balancing school and work than their male peers. <br>Research has also shown that students participating in school-based vocational education and training (VET) had higher rates of school completion, full-time employment and incomes in their first year after school than non-VET students with similar characteristics. Ex-VET students were also more likely to be in a job they liked as a career. These benefits were associated with school-based VET programs with a workplace learning component.<br>The Productivity Commission used LSAY data to investigate the demand-driven university system. Many disadvantaged students successfully attended university as a result of the expansion of the system. However, those with lower literacy and numeracy were more likely to drop out. The study recognized schools and universities need to do more to prepare and support students, and that university might not always be the best option. <br>LSAY has been an important source of evidence for policy. National reviews and inquiries informed by LSAY data include the COAG Reform Council's reporting on youth transitions (2009), the Bradley Review of Higher Education (2008) and the House of Representatives inquiry into combining school and work (2008-2009).<br>The recent Education Council Review of Senior Secondary Pathways, released in July, draws heavily on LSAY to establish how students can choose the best pathway for their transition from school. <br>LSAY has a high degree of comparability with international youth surveys. These include the Transition from Education to Employment (TREE) study in Switzerland, the Youth in Transition Survey (YITS) in Canada, the Education Longitudinal Study (ELS) and National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) in the United States, and Next Steps in the UK. <br>Most of these have a starting sample of about 9,000 individuals. Next Steps has 16,000. LSAY's starting sample of 14,000 young Australians makes it one of the largest surveys of its kind in the world. <br>Tracking lives through the GFC and COVID-19<br>These datasets enable us to transform a snapshot of a person's life into a moving picture. Compared with cross-sectional studies, these longitudinal datasets provide a much clearer picture by accounting for personalities, life events and pathways. <br>Combining a longitudinal study with cohort studies sheds more light on this picture by controlling for inter-generational differences, or crises such as wars, financial downturns or natural disasters. <br>For example, using data from four LSAY cohorts, one study found the well-being of those whose transitions occurred during the global financial crisis (GFC) was much worse on several measures, including standard of living, home life, career prospects, social life and independence. <br>The extraordinary challenges Australian youth face as a result of the coronavirus pandemic will be documented when the sixth LSAY cohort, now aged 20, complete their sixth survey in 2020 and further surveys in the years thereafter. <br>By providing a valuable resource to explore the longer-term effects of this crisis, LSAY continues to stand the test of time.<br> <br> <br><br><b>Author:The Conversation</b><br><b>Source:https://phys.org/news/2020-08-three-decade-picture-young-australians-life.html</b>

Rohit Joshi

FTQm7XMB8MTbICo7ltDO

Americans actively engaging in collectivism as financial buoy, experts say

Americans actively engaging in collectivism as financial buoy, experts say

The economic effects of the coronavius in the U.S. have brought Americans' preexisting financial precarity into stark focus. Karen Richman, University of Notre Dame director of undergraduate studies at the Institute for Latino Studies, and her colleague Joelle Saad-Lessler, associate teaching professor and associate dean of undergraduates at Stevens Institute of Technology, found that many people in the U.S. are relying on informal networks of family and friends to stay afloat in a recent study.<br><br> <br> <br><br><br><br><br><br>"Since the advent of COVID-19, the media has been reporting on surprising selfless demonstrations of mutual aid as Americans have helped one another cope with the sudden shattering of their (already) volatile financial situations," Richman said. "However, there was strong evidence that collectivist exchanges of money, housing and caregiving were helping people stay afloat, even before the pandemic."<br>Before the pandemic hit, declining incomes, coupled with escalating costs of housing, childcare, eldercare, higher education and healthcare, made it nearly impossible for the average American to set aside liquid savings. A 2018 Federal Reserve Bank Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households found that 40 percent of American adults did not have as much as $400 to cover an unexpected expense.<br>Without access to credit from banks, secure housing, childcare or accumulated retirement savings, many people in the U.S. are adopting collectivist practices. Collectivism is a moral orientation that enjoins the continuous pooling of resources and circulation of care across families, households and generations. Richman and Saad-Lessler's previous research illuminated how, beneath the radar, many Latinos (in the U.S. and in their countries of origin) cope with their material insecurity and estrangement from formal sources of savings by practicing collectivism. They build social credit and social wealth in an informal "bank" from which they are entitled to draw in the short and long term, in emergencies and in retirement.<br>Collectivist systems limit, and treat as immoral, individualism and private accumulation—the same values and behaviors that define American mainstream culture and the financial industry takes as essential givens. Collectivism, which is prevalent in low-resourced, small-scale communities throughout the world, appears to be increasingly common in American society for two primary, interrelated reasons: demographic change involving the growth of minority and immigrant populations (including Latinos), and the spread of economic insecurity to white demographics. <br><br><br><br><br><br><br>To measure collectivism in relation to formal savings across all U.S. demographics in research Richman and Saad-Lessler are currently conducting, they are using the U.S. Census Bureau's Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). With approximately 30,000 respondents, it is one of the largest and most informative national panel surveys available. They created a means of measuring Americans' collectivism by assigning "collectivism scores"—their uses of this informal bank—in comparison to their participation in the formal savings system.<br>Indicators of collectivism in the SIPP include evidence of financial support and in-kind assistance with housing and caregiving that extend beyond the nuclear family to other households and generations. They found that the higher a person's collectivism score (or their embeddedness in informal networks of exchange), the lower their retirement savings and the higher a person's formal savings for retirement (or their ability to be financially independent), the lower their involvement in collectivist reciprocity. Reliance on these exchanges changes during the life course. Younger people rely on collective support for up to 21 percent of their income. As people age, collective support shrinks in importance relative to other sources of income reaching a low of 3 percent among the elderly. Unfortunately, only one-tenth of American seniors report receiving support from their network and those who do have increased levels of material security and wellbeing.<br>Probing the exchange behavior of the 10 percent of seniors who do receive help from their networks reveals the positive effects of interdependence on their retirement security. Compared to those who are not involved in collectivist networks, they are more financially secure and they have better health status, too. Seniors who do not rely on these networks have higher income from retirement pensions and other sources, indicating that those who do not expect to receive help from their collective network save more in anticipation of being on their own. Nonetheless, in the SIPP sample, total incomes are higher for those receiving collective help among the poorest elderly ($11,460 versus $7,496 for the lowest income quartile and $18,771 versus $17,521 for the second income quartile), while among the upper 50 percent, total income is higher among those not receiving help. In other words, collective support is a safety net that makes 50 percent of the elderly population better off than their peers who do not receive collective support and keeps them out of poverty.<br>For those approaching retirement who are between the ages of 50 and 61, Social Security is their most valuable asset, which highlights the crucial contribution Social Security makes in funding most American workers' retirement. The next biggest component of pre-retirees' savings, according to Richman and Saad-Lessler's analysis of the SIPP data, is not formal savings, but rather, their informal, collective assets, which comprise 12-18 percent of total savings. Taking into account the value of Social Security assets, only 86 percent of pre-retirees without collective assets meet or exceed their savings target. However, that figure jumps to 94 percent for Americans with collective assets. In other words, collective assets help more Americans achieve their savings targets and afford their retirement years.<br>"The causes of our economic insecurity need urgently to be addressed and reversed. At the same time, policymakers and stakeholders should recognize the benefits of collectivism and adopt policies that reward collectivist practices," Saad-Lessler said. "Such policies might offer income or Social Security credits to those who provide caregiving and housing support, for example. Our institutions need to shift away from policies that assume individual financial and material independence toward those that more realistically align with the informal collectivist practices of ordinary Americans."<br> <br> <br><br><b>Author:University of Notre Dame</b><br><b>Source:https://phys.org/news/2020-08-americans-engaging-collectivism-financial-buoy.html</b>

Shreya Acharya

HsMm7XMBrfMs8Bydlh0x

Almost half of US teens who date experience stalking and harassment

Almost half of US teens who date experience stalking and harassment

Falling in love for the first time can be a thrill, and teen dating is important to adolescent development. But according to the results of a study that my research team recently conducted, these early forays into romance often veer into unhealthy territory.<br><br> <br> <br><br><br><br><br><br>As many as 48% of 12- to 18-year-olds who describe themselves as having had a dating partner in the past year have also experienced dating-related stalking and harassment. <br>Not only can dating-related stalking and harassment cause anxiety and depression in teens, but it can also be a harbinger for more serious forms of abuse should the relationship continue.<br>Our study collected self-reported survey data from 320 adolescents from across the U.S. through the Survey on Teen Relationships and Intimate Violence. Youths with dating experience were asked whether a dating partner had ever spied on or followed them, damaged something that belonged to them or gone through their online accounts. Nearly half—48% – said that they had experienced one or more of these behaviors, while 43% said that they had done these things to someone who they were dating. <br>Disturbingly, these statistics suggest that surveilling or acting aggressively toward a crush or partner isn't just common among U.S. teenagers. They may also think it's normal or acceptable. <br>Due to inexperience, adolescents may not recognize when they're being treated poorly. And, because they're still developing, they may not know how to handle a situation in which someone's attention is overwhelming or scaring them. It can be difficult for young people to know what constitutes healthy and unhealthy romantic pursuit, as well. Meanwhile, their media and social media diets don't necessarily feature ideal relationship role models.<br>It's important for teenagers to hear from adults that it isn't normal to constantly want to know what their partner is up to and that monitoring their social media posts or going into their private accounts is invasive—before, during and after a relationship. <br>I find that parents tend to have one of two extreme reactions to the idea of their teens dating for the first time. There's the "over my dead body" reaction, which usually means they forbid their children from dating altogether. Or there's the "aw, puppy love is so cute" response, in which they don't dig too deeply into the contours of the relationship.<br>A third option is for parents to appreciate the ways in which dating is normal and helpful for the development of social skills; for example, dating can give teens practice ending relationships, which can give them the confidence to get into and out of intimate partnerships in adulthood. At the same time, there's a role for parents: Pay attention to what's going on, and be there to guide them if there are signs that a relationship is becoming unhealthy.<br> <br> <br><br><b>Author:The Conversation</b><br><b>Source:https://phys.org/news/2020-08-teens-date-stalking.html</b>

Anuj Verma

RsMm7XMBrfMs8Byd9x2Q

Coronavirus: What will happen if we can't produce a vaccine?

Coronavirus: What will happen if we can't produce a vaccine?

There are over 175 COVID-19 vaccines in development. Almost all government strategies for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic are based on the idea that one of these vaccine candidates will eventually provide widespread protection against the virus and enable us all to return to our normal lives.<br> <br><br><br><br><br> But there's no guarantee that this will happen. Even in the most promising cases, we can't yet be sure that any vaccine will permanently prevent people from catching COVID-19 and enable the disease to be gradually eradicated or at least contained to limited outbreaks. Vaccines may just reduce the severity of symptoms or provide temporary protection. So what will happen if this is the case?<br>Some people have argued that when enough of the population have caught COVID-19, and produced an immune response to it, we will have reached "herd immunity" and the virus will no longer be able to spread. But this is a misunderstanding of what herd immunity means and how viruses spread and so is not a realistic aim for COVID-19 control.<br>Herd immunity is what enables us to eliminate diseases using vaccines. The percentage of a population who need be to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity is calculated using the basic reproductive rate (R0). <br>This is the average number of people that each person who catches the disease would naturally pass it on to without any medical or public health interventions, taking into account how infectious the disease is and how it is spread. <br>The higher the R0 number, the more people need to become immune through vaccination to halt the spread. You also need to allow for the fact that some people cannot have the vaccine for medical reasons and some will refuse it. <br>Numerous diseases have been eliminated in many countries thanks to herd immunity produced by vaccination programs. But herd immunity is not something that can be achieved by natural infection.<br>Take the example of measles, which is caused by a virus that has been around in humans for centuries. It is highly infectious—the R0 value is 15. This means that on average one child with measles can infect 15 others. As a result, around 95% of people need to be resistant to the disease for a population to achieve herd immunity.<br><br><br><br><br><br><br>Most people who recover from a measles infection produce a good immune response that protects them for the rest of their life. And yet, before vaccination, measles was a very common childhood disease. Each new generation of children were susceptible and not enough people naturally became resistant to produce herd immunity. <br>In the 1930s, there was a temporary herd immunity effect recorded in one location in the US. But this was an exception, and so most countries rolled out universal measles vaccination programs that have enabled them to come close to eliminating the disease.<br>Scientists think that the R0 value for SARS-CoV-2 is between 4 and 6, which is similar to that of the rubella virus. The level of vaccination needed to produce herd immunity to and eliminate rubella is 85%. <br>Coronavirus natural immunity<br>We know that other coronaviruses (including SARS, Mers and some cold viruses), don't produce a lasting immune response like measles does. And studies of COVID-19 show that, even in hot spots where there have been large numbers of cases and deaths in the last few months, less than 10% of the population show evidence of an immune response from the infection. <br>This suggests that the natural rates of resistance are a long way from the 85% that could be needed for herd immunity. And that means that, without a vaccine, the virus could become endemic, permanently present in the population like the coronaviruses that cause colds. <br>Research shows some people can get the same strain of a common cold coronavirus more than once in a single year. And most countries have seen outbreaks of COVID-19 even when they thought they had the infection more or less under control.<br>So it is possible that the ongoing pattern for COVID-19 will be more local pockets of infection, with even more cases likely during the winter months. Unless the first cases are found and isolated quickly though, these pockets will probably spread over quite wide geographical areas.<br>This is why it is vital to continue to use public health measures such as social distancing, wearing masks and washing hands to reduce the virus to such low levels that any new outbreaks can be easily contained. <br>Ideally, if this were successful, the virus might eventually die out because it could no longer spread, as happened with the SARS-CoV virus behind the 2002-2004 outbreak of SARS. But COVID-19 is more contagious and less deadly and so is much harder to control than SARS, so eliminating it this way may not be possible either.<br>Given that at least 700,000 people have died from COVID-19 worldwide so far and many people are reporting long-term illness as a result of the disease, if the virus does become endemic we should still try to prevent as much infection as possible. A vaccine could provide a way to end the pandemic, but with no prospect of natural herd immunity we could well be facing the threat of COVID-19 for a long time to come.<br> <br><br><b>Author:Sarah Pitt, The Conversation</b><br><b>Source:https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-08-coronavirus-vaccine.html</b>

Aayushi Priya

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Increasing active transportation and improving health starts with bettering built environments

Increasing active transportation and improving health starts with bettering built environments

Transforming the way communities are designed makes it more likely that people across the U.S. will engage in activities such as walking, biking, rolling and using public transportation, according to two new reports published today in the American Heart Association's flagship journal Circulation.<br> <br><br><br><br><br> Regular physical activity is one of the most important things people can do to improve their cardiovascular health; however, population levels of physical activity remain low in the United States. A science advisory from the AHA, "Built Environment Approaches to Increase Physical Activity," finds that improving built environments by making it easier and more enticing for people to use active transportation can help increase physical activity.<br>The advisory finds that by connecting activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations, such as work, school, shopping centers, parks, public transportation hubs and the like, people increase their physical activity levels by walking, biking or rolling, which ultimately improves cardiovascular health in all populations.<br>"Regular physical activity is associated with a wide array of health benefits, from reducing feelings of anxiety and depression and improving sleep and cognition, to lowering the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, some cancers and heart disease," said lead author John Omura, MD, from the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "Effective population-based approaches implemented in communities can help increase physical activity among all Americans. By implementing built environment strategies, communities across the United States can be designed in ways that help promote healthy and active living, increase physical activity, and ultimately improve cardiovascular health for everyone."<br>However, these improvements are not possible unless government officials at the community, state and federal levels embrace and invest in built environment improvements through policy change, according to the AHA policy statement, "Creating Built Environments That Expand Active Transportation and Active Living Across the United States," which was published alongside the science advisory.<br>The policy statement concludes that using human-powered, active transportation is one of the leading evidence-based strategies to increase physical activity, regardless of age, income, racial or ethnic background, ability or disability, but that environments must be conducive to such activity.<br><br><br><br><br><br><br>"Moving people around with safer and sustainable transportation options that integrate walking, bicycling and wheelchair use while connecting routes to all of a region's geographic areas can improve community development, foster economic revitalization, link people to the health care system and jobs, improve air quality and help address climate change," said lead author Deborah Young, Ph.D., director of Behavioral Research in the Department of Research & Evaluation at Kaiser Permanente Southern California. "Providing easy access to green spaces and recreational areas not only encourages physical activity, but contributes to a healthier planet, promotes social interactions within communities and enhances overall health and well-being."<br>According to the policy statement, there is no single solution to bettering built environments. Instead, community, state and federal governments, along with advocacy groups and community members, must work together to implement policies that will allow for people to feel safe while navigating their cities and towns outside of personal vehicles.<br>The policy statement supports a multi-pronged built environment approach, including:<br>Pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure that makes it easier for people to walk and bike by improving routes, sidewalks, bike lanes, street crossings and street furnishings such as benches, lighting, bike parking and storage or bicycle sharing programs. It is also integral to include people who use wheelchairs and other mobility assistive devices in these plans.Complete streets policies that ensure street designs address the needs of all vehicle and non-vehicle users.Safe Routes to School programs that enable children to walk, bike and roll to and from school safely. This is especially important due to COVID-19 concerns with crowded school buses.Public transit use and the first/last mile challenge improvements that can lead to more physical activity because of the active travel that is often required to get to transit stops and final destinations. First mile/ last mile may be difficult in many areas of the U.S. because of land use patterns in which people live in lower-density areas distant from public transportation or where there are inadequate pedestrian and bicycle facilities between transit stops and trip origin or termination points.Traffic Safety/Vision Zero plans that work to achieve a transportation system with no fatalities.Street-scale design and placemaking that make improvements to the walkability of communities by enhancing the experience people who walk bike, roll and use public transit have.Mixed land use and zoning that compel people to use active transportation. Housing, businesses, retail, educational, civic, recreational and other types of buildings and spaces are intermingled to make it easier and more appealing for people to get around without using a personal vehicle.<br>These two new reports underscore the need for federal transportation reauthorization legislation that invests in making active transportation safe, accessible and equitable. On the eve of the current law about to expire, the AHA is urging Congress to quickly pass a bill that would provide critical improvements to and increase funding for active transportation policies and programs.<br>The AHA has long supported policies to encourage active transportation and create equitable opportunities for healthy living in communities across the country.<br> <br><br><b>Author:Terra Hall, American Heart Association</b><br><b>Source:https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-08-health-bettering-built-environments.html</b>

Shikha Kumari

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How to talk to someone who doesn't wear a mask, and actually change their mind

How to talk to someone who doesn't wear a mask, and actually change their mind

It could be a brother or sister. It could be a neighbor. It could be a person you work with. We probably all know someone who doesn't wear a mask in public even though it's compulsory or recommended where you live.<br> <br><br><br><br><br> The media is quick to highlight people who think it's their right not to wear a mask, such as #bunningskaren, or who become violent in expressing their objection.<br>But others can be persuaded, with the right approach.<br>So how do you know if it's worth trying to convince someone to wear a mask? And what's the best way to talk to them if you actually want to make a difference?<br>Yelling "Mask up!" at them won't work<br>People vary in how they perceive and tolerate risk, and how physically and psychologically vulnerable they are. So we may need to negotiate accepted behaviors, just as we did with HIV. Many of these conversations might be difficult.<br>We also need to watch our own emotions don't cloud the message we want to convey. For instance, when we become angry, anxious, outraged or fearful, the person we are trying to communicate with might not hear the message we intended.<br>We might want to convey: "I want you to wear a mask when you catch the train to see our father." But instead, the other person hears the message: "I think you are behaving badly and I'm angry with you."<br>Ironically, the pandemic makes this type of miscommunication more likely. When we are stressed or emotional, we are more likely to activate our body's "fight, flight, freeze" mechanisms. This affects how we communicate and how our communication is received.<br>If refusing to wear a mask is about maintaining a sense of control or is connected to a sense of identity—for example, if someone considers themselves "not someone who fusses"—then telling them to mask up could make them defensive.<br><br><br><br><br><br><br>Becoming defensive makes people not only less willing to listen, but less able to take in information, and or to appraise it accurately.<br>As a result, criticizing someone's views—for example, that wearing a mask doesn't work—may lead them to "switch off" from what you're saying and stick more firmly to their beliefs.<br>So, what does work?<br>To communicate well, we need to prepare. The authors of the book Crucial Conversations recommend asking yourself what you want to achieve as an outcome and what you want for the relationship between you.<br>The goal is to keep the relationship respectful and the lines of communication open, so negotiations can continue as new pandemic circumstances arise.<br>You won't completely change someone's beliefs or actions. A better aim is to negotiate a change in behavior that minimizes harm. This might be: "Do as you choose at other times of course, but could we agree that just for now, you wear a mask when you visit Dad?"<br>Respect, empathy, appeal to values<br>Identifying and respecting another person's values and finding values in common reduces defensiveness and provides grounds for negotiation.<br>For instance: "I can see how important it is to you to be skeptical, and I absolutely agree, especially since the evidence changes so often. But since the evidence definitely shows that even some young, healthy people can get seriously ill, could I ask you to wear a mask on our trip?"<br>Asking someone why they are not wearing a mask, instead of telling them to wear one, is another helpful tool. This is a chance for someone to be heard, which lowers any defensiveness.<br>There are many reasons why people don't wear masks. And hearing someone explain could provide an opportunity to problem-solve (especially if we ask how we can help, and refrain from giving advice).<br>Compassion or empathy allows us to support another's position while more strongly maintaining our own. <br>For example, acknowledgements such as "I can relate! All these controls over our lives make me crazy and a lot of them make no sense" or "I might be wrong, and I might be overreacting," can help with negotiating "please humor me and wear a mask, just on the train." <br>Empathy can also help preserve the relationship while insisting on a boundary, such as: "Our relationship is so important, I really want to see you, and I hate saying this, but I can't accept you visiting without a mask, at least until there are fewer cases."<br>How a non-judgemental approach can win people over<br>Evidence shows some groups of men—such as younger men, more politically conservative men, men with lower health literacy, and men who endorse more traditional notions of masculinity—are among the most likely to resist wearing a mask.<br>Non-judgemental communication is as effective with men as with everyone else.<br>When Harvard professor Julia Marcus wrote about male anti-maskers without shaming or judgment, many men contacted her, willing to listen to her views on masks.<br>In a nutshell<br>If we are non-judgemental, empathetic, and clear in what we want to achieve, we can rise above counterproductive reactions, such as jumping in to tell someone off or dismissing someone's concerns.<br>This allows us to be brave enough to tailor our communication to what the other person is able to hear, and to make it safe for the other person to speak. This is when our communication will actually work.<br> <br><br><b>Author:Claire Hooker, The Conversation</b><br><b>Source:https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-08-doesnt-mask-mind.html</b>

Mahesh Jayaraman

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Cheese: New insights into an age-old food

Cheese: New insights into an age-old food

The most detailed study to date of the microbes in cheese was published today in Nature Food by a team of researchers at Teagasc and APC Microbiome Ireland SFI Research Center, led by Professor Paul Cotter. For this study, the team employed the most advanced DNA technologies to characterize in great depth the microbiology of 184 samples of cheeses from across the world, including newly studied samples from 55 cheeses that were sourced from artisanal cheese producers from across Ireland.<br><br> <br> <br><br><br><br><br><br>The analysis provided new insights into the microorganisms found in cheese, the links between microorganisms and specific desirable and undesirable flavors and the arsenal of antimicrobials that starters and other cheese microorganisms produce to naturally preserve cheese. The study also provides an intriguing insight into the battle between phage (viruses that infect bacteria) and cheese microorganisms, and associated anti-phage countermeasures.<br>Cheesemaking stretches back millennia and cheese remains an important component of the diet of many. Originally, cheese was made as a means of preserving milk, with lactic acid and other by-products of growth that are produced by microorganisms during the fermentation process extending its shelf-life, and contributing to flavor, appearance and aroma.<br>Scientists have been studying these microorganisms and their activities since the 19th century and eventually began to try to better control the process in some instances through the conscious addition of specific microorganisms, known as "starters," to start the cheesemaking process. Studies have also focused on trying to identify and control the growth of other, undesirable, microorganisms that contribute to off-flavors or food poisoning as well as phage, which are viruses that can attack and kill starters.<br>"The application of these cutting edge approaches has revolutionized our understanding of the microbiology of cheese and provided insights that are relevant to the vast number of microbial communities that impact on the food chain and human health," says joint first author Dr. Aaron Walsh.<br>"This work would not be possible without the fantastic contribution of artisanal cheese producers of Ireland, who show such dedication and devotion to the production of cheese of the highest quality," says joint first author Dr. Guerrino Macori.<br>"This study has the potential to be of tremendous value to the cheese industry. A better understanding of the microbiology involved can lead to the better harnessing of microbes that can positively impact on flavor and other qualities. This could allow the most desirable qualities of artisanally-produced cheeses to be made available to even wider markets. It also has broader implications for the whole fermented food field where the same technologies can be employed in a similar way and scale," explains Professor Paul Cotter.<br> <br> <br><br><b>Author:Teagasc</b><br><b>Source:https://phys.org/news/2020-08-cheese-insights-age-old-food.html</b>

Preeti Kumari

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Research helps explain source of pathogen that causes bitter rot disease

Research helps explain source of pathogen that causes bitter rot disease

Fungal spores responsible for bitter rot disease, a common and devastating infection in fruit, do not encounter their host plants by chance. Turns out, they have a symbiotic association with the plant, often living inside its leaves.<br><br> <br> <br><br><br><br><br><br>The new way of looking at the fungal pathogen, Colletotrichum fioriniae, as a leaf endophyte—bacterial or fungal microorganisms that colonize healthy plant tissue—was the outcome of a two-year study conducted by researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.<br>According to Phillip Martin, a doctoral candidate in plant pathology, the findings, which were published recently in the journal Phytopathology, have important implications for the management of the pathogen in fruit trees.<br>Colletotrichum fioriniae causes diseases, often called anthracnoses, in more than 100 fruit and vegetable plants, including apple, peach, pear and strawberry. The fungus infects the fruit under warm and wet conditions and causes brown, sunken lesions; occasionally, orange spores will be seen on the surface.<br>The disease is of concern to the Pennsylvania apple industry, which produces 400 million to 500 million pounds of apples per year. The state ranks fourth in the nation for apple production, per statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.<br><br><br><br><br><br> Shown is an apple leaf sample after its surface was disinfected, frozen and incubated to allow the fungi inside the leaf to sporulate. Credit: Phillip Martin<br> <br><br><br>"The research was based on the idea that if we can determine where the spores are coming from, then maybe we can eliminate the source and break the bitter rot disease cycle," said Martin, who carried out the study under the guidance of Kari Peter, associate research professor of tree-fruit pathology. "Unfortunately, from this perspective, many of the spores come from leaves, including apple leaves, and from trees and shrubs that are everywhere in Pennsylvania."<br>Previously, the spores in question were thought to originate mostly from diseased fruits and twigs. However, even when infected fruits and twigs were removed from a tree, the disease, while reduced, often still was present, a circumstance that puzzled scientists.<br><br><br><br><br><br><br>The research, which took place in 2018 and 2019, focused on apples and involved the placement of rain-splash spore traps in orchards at Penn State's Fruit Research and Extension Center, at Hollabaugh Bros. Inc. fruit and vegetable farm, and at a satellite location in Arendtsville, all of which are located in Adams County. Traps also were placed in two forested areas—comprised mostly of deciduous trees—near the orchards.<br>Based on previous research that indicated that Colletotrichum fioriniae could survive on leaves, the team collected more than 1,000 leaves of apple and of 24 forest plant species. The leaves were disinfected to kill fungi on the leaf surface, frozen to kill the leaves and incubated to allow the fungi inside of the leaves to grow out and sporulate.<br>This test found Colletotrichum fioriniae in more than 30% of leaves sampled, with most spores coming from the forest samples. In orchards that were managed with fungicides, up to 8% of apple leaves were infected with the fungus. In the untreated orchard, Martin said, the spores were abundant, meaning they were found in 15-80% of the leaves. The infections did not seem to be causing any leaf diseases, however.<br><br><br><br><br><br> This graphic depicts a generalized infection cycle for Colletotrichum fioriniae based on endophytic leaf infections. The illustration accompanied the research paper titled, “Quantification of Colletotrichum fioriniae in orchards and deciduous forests indicates it is primarily a leaf endophyte,” which appeared in the journal Phytopathology. Credit: Sage McKeand/Phytopathology doi/10.1094/PHYTO-05-20-0157-R.<br> <br><br><br>"While unexpected, these findings did explain why growers struggle with bitter rot even when they remove all diseased fruits and twigs—the fungus was living in the leaves during the season," Martin said. "The fungus was present in all the tested orchards and could not be traced to infection from a nursery, which makes sense since the initial infections likely are coming from surrounding forests and fence rows."<br>Since the fungus is abundant in the forest canopy, eradication from nearby areas would be impractical, Martin added. However, the spatial limitations of rain-splash dispersal mean that forests are not regular sources of fungus spread; they likely serve only as primary introduction sources during extreme rain and wind events, after which the fungus becomes established in agricultural areas.<br>"Our study changes how we think about this fungus," Martin said. "While it may not supply quick fixes, it provides the basis for further research aimed at developing better management techniques, such as selecting resistant cultivars and breeding for genetic resistance."<br>Peter agreed. "Although it's exciting to understand that Colletotrichum fiorinae's niche in the environment is more sophisticated than we had appreciated, it does make managing bitter rot in apple orchards less straightforward," she said. "As researchers, we can view this is an opportunity to think outside the box and to be creative in figuring out a sustainable bitter rot management strategy."<br>In the meantime, Martin noted, disease-management tactics stay the same. "We don't believe most spores are overwintering in the leaves," he said. "Growers should continue to remove the infected fruits and twigs to help reduce disease spread season to season."<br> <br> <br><br><b>Author:Pennsylvania State University</b><br><b>Source:https://phys.org/news/2020-08-source-pathogen-bitter-disease.html</b>

Ramya Bhattacharyya

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Australia's smallest fish among 22 at risk of extinction within two decades

Australia's smallest fish among 22 at risk of extinction within two decades

The tragic fish kills in the lower Darling River drew attention to the plight of Australia's freshwater fish, but they've been in trouble for a long time.<br><br> <br> <br><br><br><br><br><br>Many species have declined sharply in recent decades, and as many as 90 of Australia's 315 freshwater fish species may now meet international criteria as threatened. <br>No Australian fish species is yet listed officially as extinct, but some have almost certainly been lost before scientists even knew they existed. With so many species at risk, understanding which are in greatest peril is a vital first step in preventing extinctions.<br>This is what our new research has done. We've identified 20 freshwater fish species with a 50% or greater probability of extinction within the next two decades, and a further two with a 40-50% chance—unless there's new targeted conservation action. <br>Slipping through the conservation cracks<br>Many small-bodied species, including Australia's smallest fish the red-finned blue-eye, look likely to be lost within a single human generation. These fish have evolved over millions of years.<br>Twelve of the species identified have only been formally described in the past decade, and seven are still awaiting description. <br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>The Australian freshwater fishes at greatest risk of extinction.<br>This highlights the urgent need to act before species are listed under the national legislation that gives fishes their conservation status, and even before they're formally described. <br>These processes can take many years, at which point it may be too late for some species.<br>More than half the species on our list are galaxiids—small, scaleless fish, that live in cooler, upland streams and lakes. Trout, an introduced, predatory species, also favor these habitats, and the trout have taken a heavy toll on galaxiids and many other small species in southern Australia.<br>For example, the Victorian Shaw galaxias has been eaten out of much of its former range. Now just 80 individuals survive, protected by a waterfall from the trout below. We estimate the Shaw galaxias has an 80% chance or more of extinction within the next 20 years. <br>Many galaxiids do not thrive or readily breed in captivity, so suitable trout-free streams are essential for their survival. <br><br><br><br><br><br> Victoria’s Shaw galaxias – one of 14 galaxias species identified at high risk of extinction. Credit: Tarmo Raadik<br> <br><br><br>Improving trout management requires an urgent, sustained conservation effort, including collaborations with recreational fishers, increased awareness and changing values among government and key sectors of society. <br><br><br><br><br><br><br>Without this, trout will almost certainly cause many native galaxiids to go extinct. <br>Native fish out of their natural place can also be a problem. For example, sooty and khaki grunters—native fishing species people in northern Australia have widely moved—threatening the ancient Bloomfield River cod. <br>One disaster can lead to extinction<br>All of the most imperiled species are now highly localized, which means they're restricted to very small areas. Their distributions range from only four to 44 square kilometers. <br>A single catastrophic event could completely wipe out these species, such as a large bushfire that fills their streams with ash and robs them of oxygen.<br><br><br><br><br><br> This waterfall in NSW is all that protects the last population of stocky galaxias from the predatory trout below. Credit: Mark Lintermans<br> <br><br><br>For example, until 2019 the Yalmy galaxias had survived in the cool creeks of the Snowy River National Park. But after the devastating Black Summer fires, just two individuals survived, one male and one female, in separate areas. <br>Millions of years of evolution could be lost if a planned reunion is too late. <br>One of the key steps to reduce this risk is moving fish to new safe locations so there are more populations. Researchers choose these new locations carefully to make sure they're suitable for different species.<br>Climate change is another threat to all identified species, as it's likely to reduce flows and water quality, or increase fires, storms and flooding. Many species have been forced to the edge of their range and a prolonged drought could dry their remaining habitat.<br>The short-tail galaxias existed in two small separated populations in creeks of the upper Tuross River Catchment, in the south coast of NSW. One stream dried in the recent drought, and the other was burnt in the subsequent fires.<br>Luckily the species is still hanging on in the burnt catchment, but only a single individual has been found in the drought-affected creek.<br><br><br><br><br><br> The SW Victoria River blackfish persists as three very small, isolated populations. The main threat to this species is recreational angling. Credit: Tarmo Raadik<br> <br><br><br><br><br><br> The main threat to the Daintree rainbowfish is loss of stream flow due to drought, climate change and water extraction. Credit: Michael Hammer / Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Author provided<br> <br><br><br>Unlisted, unprotected<br>Our study is part of a larger project to identify plants and animals at high risk of extinction. <br>We found the extinction risks of the 22 freshwater fish species are much higher than those of the top 20 birds or mammals, yet receive far less conservation effort.<br>Only three of the highly imperiled fish species are currently listed as threatened under national environmental legislation: the red-finned blue-eye, Swan galaxias and little pygmy perch. <br>Listing species is vital to provide protection to survivors and can prompt recovery action. Given our research, 19 fish species should urgently be added to the national threatened species list, but conservation action should start now. <br>Small native freshwater fishes are worth saving. They play a vital role in our aquatic ecosystems, such as predating on pest insect larvae, and are part of our natural heritage. <br>By identifying and drawing attention to their plight, we are aiming to change their fates. We cannot continue with business as usual if we want to prevent their extinctions.<br> <br> <br><br><b>Author:The Conversation</b><br><b>Source:https://phys.org/news/2020-08-australia-smallest-fish-extinction-decades.html</b>

Barkha Rani

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