New analysis compares 22 named storms with possible hurricanes of the future

Date:
May 21, 2018

Source:
National Science Foundation

Summary:
Scientists have developed a detailed analysis of how 22 recent hurricanes would be different if they formed under the conditions predicted for the late 21st century.

 

Will future hurricanes resemble 2017’s Jose (top) and Maria? Scientists have new answers.
Credit: NASA

 

 

Scientists have developed a detailed analysis of how 22 recent hurricanes would be different if they formed under the conditions predicted for the late 21st century.

While each storm’s transformation would be unique, on balance, the hurricanes would become a little stronger, a little slower-moving, and a lot wetter.

In one example, Hurricane Ike — which killed more than 100 people and devastated parts of the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2008 — could have 13 percent stronger winds, move 17 percent slower, and be 34 percent wetter if it formed in a future, warmer climate.

Other storms could become slightly weaker (for example, Hurricane Ernesto) or move slightly faster (such as Hurricane Gustav). None would become drier. The rainfall rate of simulated future storms would increase by an average of 24 percent.

The study, led by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and published in the Journal of Climate, compares high-resolution computer simulations of more than 20 historical, named Atlantic storms with a second set of simulations that are identical but for a warmer, wetter climate that’s consistent with the average scientific projections for the end of the century.

A future with Hurricane Harvey-like rains

“Our research suggests that future hurricanes could drop significantly more rain,” said NCAR scientist Ethan Gutmann, who led the study. “Hurricane Harvey demonstrated last year just how dangerous that can be.”

Harvey produced more than 4 feet of rain in some locations, breaking records and causing devastating flooding across the Houston area.

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), which is NCAR’s sponsor, and by DNV GL (Det Norske Veritas Germanischer Lloyd), a global quality assurance and risk management company.

“This study shows that the number of strong hurricanes, as a percent of total hurricanes each year, may increase,” said Ed Bensman, a program director in NSF’s Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences, which supported the study. “With increasing development along coastlines, that has important implications for future storm damage.”

Tapping a vast dataset to see storms

With more people and businesses relocating to coastal regions, the potential influence of environmental change on hurricanes has significant implications for public safety and the economy.

Last year’s hurricane season, which caused an estimated $215 billion in losses according to reinsurance company Munich RE, was the costliest on record.

It’s been challenging for scientists to study how hurricanes might change in the future as the climate continues to warm. Most climate models, which are usually run on a global scale over decades or centuries, are not run at a high enough resolution to “see” individual hurricanes.

Most weather models, on the other hand, are run at a high enough resolution to accurately represent hurricanes, but because of the high cost of computational resources, they are not generally used to simulate long-term changes in climate.

For the current study, the researchers took advantage of a massive new dataset created at NCAR. The scientists ran the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model at a high resolution (4 kilometers, or about 2.5 miles) over the contiguous United States over two 13-year periods.

The simulations took about a year to run on the Yellowstone supercomputer at the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center in Cheyenne.

The first set of model runs simulates weather as it unfolded between 2000 and 2013, and the second simulates the same weather patterns but in a climate that’s warmer by about 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit) — the amount of warming that may be expected by the end of the century.

Drawing on the vast amount of data, the scientists created an algorithm that enabled them to identify 22 named storms that appear with very similar tracks in the historic and future simulations, allowing the hurricanes to be more easily compared.

As a group, storms in simulations of the future had 6 percent stronger average hourly maximum wind speeds than those in the past. They also moved at 9 percent slower speeds and had 24 percent higher average hourly maximum rainfall rates. Average storm radius did not change.

Each storm unique

“Some past studies have also run the WRF at a high resolution to study the impact of climate change on hurricanes, but those studies have tended to look at a single storm, like Sandy or Katrina,” Gutmann said.

“What we find in looking at more than 20 storms is that some change one way, while others change in a different way. There is so much variability that you can’t study one storm and then extrapolate to all storms.”

But there was one consistent feature across storms: They all produced more rain.

While the study sheds light on how a particular storm might look in a warmer climate, it doesn’t provide insight into how environmental change might affect storm genesis. That’s because the hurricanes analyzed in this study formed outside the region simulated by the WRF model and passed into the WRF simulation as fully formed storms.

Other research has suggested that fewer storms may form in the future because of increasing atmospheric stability or greater high-level wind shear, though the storms that do form are apt to be stronger.

“It’s possible that in a future climate, large-scale atmospheric changes wouldn’t allow some of these storms to form,” Gutmann said. “But from this study, we get an idea of what we can expect from the storms that do form.”

Story Source:

Materials provided by National Science FoundationNote: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ethan D. Gutmann, Roy M. Rasmussen, Changhai Liu, Kyoko Ikeda, Cindy L. Bruyere, James M. Done, Luca Garrè, Peter Friis-Hansen, Vidyunmala Veldore. Changes in Hurricanes from a 13-Yr Convection-Permitting Pseudo–Global Warming SimulationJournal of Climate, 2018; 31 (9): 3643 DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-17-0391.1

 

Source: National Science Foundation. “Hurricanes: Stronger, slower, wetter in the future? New analysis compares 22 named storms with possible hurricanes of the future.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 May 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180521131532.htm>.

BIOMED 2018 Conference – Tel Aviv

 

Target Heath just returned from the 17th MIXiii-BIOMED 2018 Conference and Exhibition held May 15-17, 2018 in Tel Aviv, Israel. Target Health has been working in Israel since 2001 and has developed long lasting and successful professional and personal relationships, including approvals of products being marketed globally.

 

This year, BIOMED explored the following:

 

Digital Health, IoT, and Big Data – New Armamentarium in Medicine

Next Generation Oncology Treatments

Brain Health

Personalized Diagnostics and Treatments

Fighting Rare Genetic Diseases Using Novel Therapeutic Approaches

Nanomedicine and its Role in New Medical Therapeutics

From Academia Research to Industry

Cutting Edge Medical Device Technologies: Metabolic, Ophthalmology

Novel Clinical Trial Designs and Technologies to Accelerate Drug Development

 

For more information about Target Health contact Warren Pearlson (212-681-2100 ext. 165). For additional information about software tools for paperless clinical trials, please also feel free to contact Dr. Jules T. Mitchel. The Target Health software tools are designed to partner with both CROs and Sponsors. Please visit the Target Health Website.

 

Joyce Hays, Founder and Editor in Chief of On Target

Jules Mitchel, Editor

 

QUIZ

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Dietary Seaweed Used to Manipulate Gut Bacteria in Mice

Nori, roasted sheets of seaweed used in Japanese cuisine for sushi. The smaller ones are already seasoned with sesame oil and spices. Nori is typically toasted prior to consumption (yaki-nori). Part of the toasting process includes umami flavors like soy sauce, and seasonings. It is also eaten by making it into a soy sauce-flavored paste, (nori no tsukudani) Photo credit: Alice Wiegand, (Lyzzy) – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=740793

 

A paper published online in Nature (9 May 2018), showed in experiments in 1) ___, that it’s possible to favor the engraftment of one gut bacterial strain over others by manipulating the diet. The study also showed that it’s possible to control how much a bacteria grow in the intestine by calibrating the amount of a specific carbohydrate in the water or food.

 

Gut bacteria thrive on the 2) ___ we eat. In turn, they provide essential nutrients that keep us healthy, repel pathogens and even help guide our immune responses. Understanding how and why some bacterial strains we ingest can successfully take up residence in the large intestine, while others are quickly evicted, could help in the understanding on how to manipulate the makeup of thousands of bacterial species found there, in ways that enhance our health or help fend off 3) ___. But the sheer complexity of gut ecology has hampered this task. Now, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine working with laboratory mice have shown that it’s possible to favor the engraftment of one bacterial strain over others by manipulating the mice’s 4) ___. The authors also have shown it’s possible to control how much a bacterium grows in the intestine by calibrating the amount of a specific carbohydrate in each mouse’s water or food. According to the authors, we are all endowed with a microbial community in our guts that are assembled during our first few years of 5) ___, and that although we continue to acquire new strains throughout life, this acquisition is a poorly orchestrated and not-well-understood process. The study suggests it could be possible to reshape our microbiome in a deliberate manner to enhance health and fight disease.

 

The burgeoning field of probiotics, that comprises live, presumably healthful bacterial cultures naturally found in food such as yogurt or included in over-the-counter oral supplements, is an example of a growing public awareness of the importance of gut bacteria. But even if you don’t take probiotics or eat 6) ___, each of us unknowingly consumes low levels of gut-adapted microbes throughout our life. But, regardless of the source, it’s not known what causes one strain to be successful over another. Many pass quickly through our digestive tract without gaining a foothold in our teeming intestinal carpet. To investigate whether a dietary boost would give specific bacterial strains a leg up in the gut microbiome. The authors went to the San Jose Wastewater Treatment Facility to find members of the Bacteroides — the most prominent genus in the human 7) ___ microbiota — specifically looking for strains that are able to digest an ingredient relatively rare in American diets: the seaweed called nori used in sushi rolls and other Japanese foods. The authors screened the bacteria collected in the primary effluent for an ability to use a carbohydrate found in nori called porphyran. Apparently, the genes that allow a bacterium to digest porphyran are exceedingly rare among humans that don’t have 8) ___ as a common part of their diet. This allowed the authors to test whether it was possible to circumvent the rules of complex ecosystems by creating a privileged niche that could favor a single microbe by allowing it to exist in the absence of competition from the 30 trillion other microbes in the gut. Once a nori-gobbling strain of Bacteroides was identified, the authors attempted to introduce it into each of three groups of laboratory mice. Two groups of the mice had their own gut bacteria eliminated and replaced with the naturally occurring gut 9) ___ from two healthy human donors, each of whom donated exclusively to one group or the other. The third group of mice harbored a conventional mouse-specific community of gut microbiota.

 

Results showed that when the mice were fed a typical diet of mouse chow, the porphyran-digesting strain was able to engraft in two groups of mice to varying and limited degrees; one of the groups of mice with human gut bacteria rejected the new strain completely. However, when the mice were fed a porphyran-rich diet, the results were dramatically different: The bacteria engrafted robustly at similar levels in all the mice. Furthermore, it was possible to precisely calibrate the population size of the engrafted bacteria by increasing or decreasing the amount of nori the animals ingested. In addition to showing that they could favor the engraftment and growth of the nori-gobbling bacterial strain, the authors went one step further by showing that the genes necessary to enable the digestion of porphyran exist as a unit that can be engineered into other Bacteroides strains, giving them the same engraftment advantage. Now they’re working to identify other genes that confer similar dietary abilities. The authors also envision developing bacteria that harbor kill switches and logic gates that will permit clinicians to toggle bacterial activity on and off at will, or when a specific set of circumstances occur. For example, a physician whose patient is about to begin immunotherapy for 10) ___ may choose to also administer a bacterial strain known to activate the immune system. Conversely, a patient with an autoimmune disease may benefit from a different set of microbiota that can dial down an overactive immune response. They are just a very powerful lever to modulate our biology in health and disease. Sources: Stanford University School of Medicine; Elizabeth Stanley Shepherd, William C. DeLoache, Kali M. Pruss, Weston R. Whitaker, Justin L. Sonnenburg. An exclusive metabolic niche enables strain engraftment in the gut microbiota. Nature, 2018; DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0092-4; ScienceDaily, Krista Conger; Wikipedia

 

ANSWERS: 1) mice; 2) food; 3) disease; 4) diet; 5) life; 6) yogurt; 7) gut; 8) seaweed; 9) bacteria; 10) cancer

 

Nori Seaweed

Toasting a sheet of nori. 1864, Japanese painting; Wikipedia, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40283081

 

Nori is the Japanese name for edible seaweed species of the red algae genus Pyropia, including P. yezoensis and P. tenera. It is used chiefly as an ingredient (wrap) of sushi. Finished products are made by a shredding and rack-drying process that resembles papermaking. Originally, the term nori was generic and referred to seaweeds, including hijiki. One of the oldest descriptions of nori is dated to around the 8th century. In the Taiho Code enacted in CA 701, when nori was already included in the form of taxation. Local people have been described as drying nori in Hitachi Province Fudoki (ca 721-721), and nori was harvested in Izumo Province Fudoki (ca 713-733), showing that nori was used as food from ancient times. In Utsubo Monogatari, written around 987, nori was recognized as a common food. Nori had been consumed as paste form until the sheet form was invented in Asakusa, Edo (contemporary Tokyo), around 1750 in the Edo period through the method of Japanese paper-making. The word “nori“ first appeared in an English-language publication in C.P. Thunberg’s Trav., published in 1796. It was used in conjugation as “Awa nori“, probably referring to what is now called aonori.

 

The Japanese nori industry was in decline after WW II, when Japan was in need of all food that could be produced. The decline was due to a lack of understanding of nori’s three-stage life cycle, such that local people did not understand why traditional cultivation methods were not effective. The industry was rescued by knowledge deriving from the work of British phycologist Kathleen Mary Drew-Baker, who had been researching the organism Porphyria umbilicalis, which grew in the seas around Wales and was harvested for food, as in Japan. Her work was discovered by Japanese scientists who applied it to artificial methods of seeding and growing the nori, rescuing the industry. Kathleen Baker was hailed as the “Mother of the Sea“ in Japan and a statue erected in her memory; she is still revered as the savior of the Japanese nori industry. In the 21st century, the Japanese nori industry faces a new decline due to increased competition from seaweed producers in China and Korea and domestic sales tax hikes.

 

The word nori started to be used widely in the United States, and the product (imported in dry form from Japan) became widely available at natural food stores and Asian-American grocery stores in the 1960s due to the macrobiotic movement and in the 1970s with the increase of sushi bars and Japanese restaurants. In one study by Jan-Hendrik Hehemann, subjects of Japanese descent have been shown to be able to digest the polysaccharide of the seaweed, after gut microbes developed the enzyme from marine bacteria. Gut microbes from the North American subjects lacked these enzymes.

 

Production and processing of nori is an advanced form of agriculture. The biology of Pyropia, although complicated, is well understood, and this knowledge is used to control the production process. Farming takes place in the sea where the Pyropia plants grow attached to nets suspended at the sea surface and where the farmers operate from boats. The plants grow rapidly, requiring about 45 days from “seeding“ until the first harvest. Multiple harvests can be taken from a single seeding, typically at about ten-day intervals. Harvesting is accomplished using mechanical harvesters of a variety of configurations. Processing of raw product is mostly accomplished by highly automated machines that accurately duplicate traditional manual processing steps, but with much improved efficiency and consistency. The final product is a paper-thin, black, dried sheet of approximately 18 cm x 20 cm (7 in x 8 in) and 3 grams (0.11 oz.) in weight. Several grades of nori are available in the United States. The most common, and least expensive, grades are imported from China, costing about six cents per sheet. At the high end, ranging up to 90 cents per sheet, are “delicate shin-nori“ (nori from the first of the year’s several harvests) cultivated in Ariake Sea, off the island of Kyushu in Japan. In Japan, over 600 square kilometres (230 sq mi) of coastal waters are given to producing 340,000 tons of nori, worth over a billion dollars. China produces about a third of this amount.

 

Nori is commonly used as a wrap for sushi and onigiri. It is also a garnish or flavoring in noodle preparations and soups. It is most typically toasted prior to consumption (yaki-nori). A common secondary product is toasted and flavored nori (ajitsuke-nori), in which a flavoring mixture (variable, but typically soy sauce, sugar, sake, mirin, and seasonings) is applied in combination with the toasting process. It is also eaten by making it into a soy sauce-flavored paste, nori no tsukudani. Nori is also sometimes used as a form of food decoration or garnish. A related product, prepared from the unrelated green algae Monostroma and Enteromorpha, is called aonori literally blue/green nori) and is used like herbs on everyday meals, such as okonomiyaki and yakisoba.

 

Since nori sheets easily absorb water from the air and degrade, a desiccant is indispensable when storing it for any significant time.

Hibernation and Survival – A Tale of 13 Squirrels

 

How squirrel tissues adapt to the cold and metabolic stress has confounded researchers for years.

 

A structure in cells known to be vulnerable to cold is the microtubule cytoskeleton. This network of small tubes within a cell provides structural support and acts as a kind of inner cellular railway system, transporting organelles and molecular complexes vital for a cell’s survival.

 

According to an article published on line the journal Cell (3 May 2018), cellular mechanisms were identified during hibernation that helped 13-lined ground squirrel survive near freezing temperatures, by dramatically slowing their heart rate and respiration. The findings could be a step to extending storage of human donor tissues awaiting transplantation and protecting traumatic brain injury patients who undergo induced hypothermia.

 

In a series of experiments, the research team compared cells from non-hibernators to cells from the ground squirrel to determine differences in their response to cold. Results showed that in ground squirrel neurons, the microtubule cytoskeleton remains intact, while it deteriorates in the neurons of humans and other non-hibernating animals, including rats.

 

To investigate the biological factors supporting the squirrel’s cold adaptation, the authors created “hibernation in a dish“. They took cells from a newborn ground squirrel and reprogrammed them to become stem cells, which are undifferentiated cells capable of becoming any type of tissue in the body. Importantly, these lab-made cells, also known as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), retained the intrinsic cold-adaptive characteristics of the adult squirrel’s cells, thus providing a type of platform for studying how various kinds of the rodent’s cells adapt to the cold. Next, the authors compared gene expression of stem cell-derived neurons from ground squirrels and humans. Cold exposure revealed distinct differences in the reaction of mitochondria, organelles that provide energy to the cell in the form of adenosine, triphosphate (ATP). It was found that cold-exposed human stem cell-derived neurons tended to overproduce a byproduct of metabolism known as reactive oxygen species (ROS). The overabundance of ROS in human neurons appeared to cause proteins along the microtubules to oxidize, wreaking havoc with the microtubule structure. By comparison, ground squirrel ROS levels remained relatively low and their microtubules remained intact.

 

Cold exposure also interfered with the human stem cell-derived neurons’ ability to dispose of the toxic oxidized proteins via its protein quality control system. Under normal conditions, lysosomes envelop oxidized proteins and digest them via enzymes called proteases, but in the cold-exposed human neurons, the proteases leaked from the lysosomes and digested nearby microtubules. The authors then treated non-hibernating cells prior to cold exposure with two drugs to alter the course of the cold-induced damage. One of the drugs, BAM15, inhibits the production of ATP, which reduces the production of ROS. The second drug inhibited protease activity. After bathing a variety of cell types from non-hibernators in both drugs, the research team exposed them to 4-degrees Celsius for four to 24 hours. The drug combination preserved microtubule structure in human stem cell-derived neurons, and rat retina – the light sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. Subsequent tests showed that the rat retina also remained functional. The authors also found that the drug combination also preserved nonneural tissue. Microtubules in renal cells from mouse kidneys showed improved structural integrity after cooling and rewarming.

 

In addition to the implications for organ transplantation, these findings pave the way for future studies looking at possible therapeutic applications. For example, inducing hypothermia is a commonly used strategy to protect the brain following a traumatic injury, but the potential benefits are weighed against the potential harm from cold-induced cellular damage. According to the authors, by understanding the biology of cold adaptation in hibernation, it may be possible to improve and broaden the applications of induced hypothermia in the future, and perhaps prolong the viability of organs prior to transplantation. For example, kidneys are typically stored for no more than 30 hours. After that, the tissue starts to deteriorate, impairing the organ’s ability to function properly after its been rewarmed and reperfused. Heart, lungs and livers have an even shorter shelf life. The findings also suggest that stem cell-derived neurons from the ground squirrel can serve as a platform for studying other aspects of hibernation adaption, a field of research that has been limited by a lack of transgenic animal models and the inability to induce hibernation in the animal.

 

Bacteria Therapy for Eczema Shows Promise

 

Atopic dermatitis is an inflammatory skin disease that can make skin dry and itchy, cause rashes and lead to skin infections. The disease is linked to an increased risk of developing asthma, hay fever and food allergy. Atopic dermatitis is common in children and sometimes resolves on its own, but it also can persist into or develop during adulthood. The cause of atopic dermatitis is unknown, but studies suggest that the skin microbiome — the community of bacteria and other microbes living on the skin — plays a key role. For years, scientists have known that people with atopic dermatitis tend to have large populations of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria on their skin. These bacteria can cause skin infections and trigger immune responses that increase inflammation and worsen symptoms. Recent work by NIAID researchers using mouse and cell culture models of atopic dermatitis revealed that treatment with isolates of R. mucosa collected from the skin of healthy people improved disease outcomes in the models. In contrast, R. mucosa isolates from people with atopic dermatitis either had no impact or worsened outcomes in the models. Based on these preclinical findings, an early stage clinical trial was designed to test the safety and potential benefit of a treatment containing live R. mucosa in people with atopic dermatitis.

 

According to an article published in JCI Insight (3 May 2018), topical treatment with live Roseomonas mucosa – a bacterium naturally present on the skin — was safe for adults and children with atopic dermatitis (eczema) and was associated with reduced disease severity. These results are based on initial findings from an ongoing early-phase clinical trial. Preclinical work in a mouse model of atopic dermatitis had suggested that R. mucosa strains collected from healthy skin can relieve disease symptoms.

 

The authors first tested the experimental treatment in 10 adult volunteers with atopic dermatitis. Twice a week for six weeks, the volunteers sprayed a solution of sugar water containing increasing doses of live R. mucosa onto their inner elbows and one additional skin area of their choice. The R. mucosa strains included in the treatment were originally isolated from the skin of healthy individuals and grown under carefully controlled laboratory conditions. Participants were instructed to continue their normal eczema treatments, including topical steroids and other medications. Study participants did not report any adverse reactions or complications. Most participants experienced improvements in their atopic dermatitis, and four weeks after stopping the bacteria therapy, some reported needing fewer topical steroids.

 

The authors next enrolled five volunteers aged 9 to 14 years with atopic dermatitis. Treatments were applied to all affected skin areas twice weekly for 12 weeks and every other day for an additional four weeks. Consistent with the findings in adults, there were no complications or adverse effects, and most participants experienced improvements in their eczema, including a reduced need for topical steroids. The authors also found that treatment was associated with decreases in the S. aureus population on the children’s skin.

 

According to the authors, although larger studies comparing the bacteria therapy with a placebo will be required to assess the effectiveness of this potential treatment, results from the current study showed a greater than 50% improvement in atopic dermatitis severity in four of the five children and six of the 10 adults.

 

To better understand factors that may contribute to imbalances in the bacteria on the skin, the authors also investigated whether chemicals produced by R. mucosa or present in certain skin products may be associated with atopic dermatitis. Results showed that strains of R. mucosa from people with atopic dermatitis produced skin irritants, while strains isolated from healthy skin produced chemicals that may enhance the skin’s barrier and help regulate the immune system. In addition, some forms of parabens, a common preservative in skin products, and some topical emollients (moisturizers) blocked the growth of R. mucosa from healthy skin and did not have as strong an effect on growth of S. aureus or eczema-associated R. mucosa. These findings suggest that certain products may worsen atopic dermatitis and/or affect the effectiveness of microbiome-based therapies.

 

Final results from the ongoing study will provide the foundation for larger trials to evaluate the efficacy of this novel investigational therapy, as well as to better understand the role of R. mucosa in atopic dermatitis. NIH has exclusively licensed the technology to Forte Biosciences to advance this potential new therapy through further clinical development.

 

FDA Expands Approval of Gilenya to Treat Multiple Sclerosis in Pediatric Patients

 

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, inflammatory, autoimmune disease of the central nervous system that disrupts communication between the brain and other parts of the body. It is among the most common causes of neurological disability in young adults and occurs more frequently in women than men. For most people with MS, episodes of worsening function and appearance of new symptoms, called relapses or flare-ups, are initially followed by recovery periods (remissions). Over time, recovery may be incomplete, leading to progressive decline in function and increased disability. Most people with MS experience their first symptoms, like vision problems or muscle weakness, between the ages of 20 to 40. Two to five percent of people with MS have symptom onset before age 18 and estimates suggest that 8,000 to 10,000 children and adolescents in the U.S. have MS.

 

The FDA has approved Gilenya (fingolimod) to treat relapsing MS in children and adolescents age 10 years and older. This is the first FDA approval of a drug to treat MS in pediatric patients. Gilenya was first approved by the FDA in 2010 to treat adults with relapsing MS.

 

The clinical trial evaluating the effectiveness of Gilenya in treating pediatric patients with MS included 214 evaluated patients aged 10 to 17 and compared Gilenya to another MS drug, interferon beta-1a. In the study, 86% of patients receiving Gilenya remained relapse-free after 24 months of treatment, compared to 46% of those receiving interferon beta-1a. The side effects of Gilenya in pediatric trial participants were similar to those seen in adults. The most common side effects were headache, liver enzyme elevation, diarrhea, cough, flu, sinusitis, back pain, abdominal pain and pain in extremities.

 

Gilenya must be dispensed with a patient Medication Guide that describes important information about the drug’s uses and risks. Serious risks include slowing of the heart rate, especially after the first dose. Gilenya may increase the risk of serious infections. Patients should be monitored for infection during treatment and for two months after discontinuation of treatment. A rare brain infection that usually leads to death or severe disability, called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) has been reported in patients being treated with Gilenya. PML cases usually occur in patients with weakened immune systems. Gilenya can cause vision problems. Gilenya may increase the risk for swelling and narrowing of the blood vessels in the brain (posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome). Other serious risks include respiratory problems, liver injury, increased blood pressure and skin cancer. Gilenya can cause harm to a developing fetus; women of child-bearing age should be advised of the potential risk to the fetus and to use effective contraception.

 

The FDA granted Priority Review and Breakthrough Therapy designation to Novartis for this indication.

 

Simple Spring Salad for Four (with 4 special ingredients)

We had some people over for dinner and a movie. We started with icy chardonnay and the garden-fresh salad above. We also served warm mini corn tortillas, salsa and sour cream, if anyone wanted to make a taco. Next, a new recipe for chicken casserole, that I’m working on. Cake and dates for dessert. The movie was, Phantom Thread, recently nominated for an Oscar and starring the great actor, Daniel Day-Lewis. We all recommend the movie. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Ingredients

 

Mini Corn tortillas, warm just before serving

3 hard-boiled eggs, use the white only

2 avocados

2 large ripe tomato

2 Tablespoons black beans, from can

2, 3 or 4 Tablespoons yellow corn kernels

1 orange Bell pepper, seeds removed, chopped

4 Tablespoons, extra virgin olive oil

Zest of 1 fresh lemon

2 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 fresh garlic cloves, mashed with 3 anchovies

2 pinches chili flakes (optional)

2 pinches black pepper

A few leaves of kale, baby spinach, or arugula, for crisp texture. Wash, dry and break into small pieces.

1/2 to 1 sheet of Nori, crushed in your fist, then sprinkled over the salad.

 

If you don’t have fresh corn in your neighborhood, use frozen corn kernels instead. Let them thaw, squeeze them a little in paper towel, so they don’t add water to the salad. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Chef’s note: As you are aware, the CDC has put out a strong warning not to buy romaine lettuce wrapped in plastic, (and raised in Arizona) because quite a few people have become very sick after eating romaine tainted with E. coli. Although, we’ve made this salad many times, the first time using romaine, we did take care to use romaine from Whole Foods, with fresh leaves and not contained in plastic. We also checked with the veggie manager re the CDC warning. However, since that first time, we have only used fresh arugula and baby spinach in this salad recipe. The recipe is equally delicious with a few leaves of other greens, as well as Nori seaweed, which is loaded with umami, our fifth flavor sense. In case you haven’t tried it, Nori is a wonderful topping for many recipes, as well as being extremely healthy. This wrapping of delicious sushi rolls can be bought in flat sheets. The way we use it at home is beyond easy. Just take as much as you need, then crunch up in your fist and sprinkle the Nori over practically everything. I use it over salads, over casseroles, over cauliflower mashed “potatoes,“ and much more. Now, that you’ve read today’s Quiz and know how healthy (low-cal) Nori is, go for it. Nori is very tasty (umami) as well as healthy for your biome.

 

Chef update: As of Thursday 17 May 2018, FDA has given the “okay“ to dine on romaine lettuce; joyful news for everyone who loves Caesar salad.

 

Directions

1. Have a salad bowl ready.

2. Take eggs out of fridge and let them reach room temperature before you boil them for 8 minutes, then put immediately into ice water. Remove and shell. Then remove yolks and use for another recipe. Chop the white part and set aside. This is one of the special ingredients, not usually found in a salad.

3. Scrape the kernels off the corn cob.

 

Lucky to have a neighborhood store that purchases from local farmers. New York City is known for its many locations where local farmers come into the city and sell their produce directly to the consumer and/or restaurant chef. One such location is Union Square in Manhattan. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

4. Get out a mortar and pestle and mash the garlic and anchovies until you get a paste. Set aside. These are two of the special ingredients, not usually found in a salad. This is the umami part, the anchovies, that is. I have started to use anchovy fillets, in place of salt, in my recipes, when possible. When a few anchovy fillets are mashed and used in a recipe, the result is that umami deeper flavor. There is no fishy taste, in any recipe, after using mashed anchovy fillets; plus there is omega 3.

 

I used to think that anyone with a mortar & pestle, was a highly sophisticated chef. But now I know that it makes sense for anyone in the kitchen to have this item, simply because it makes mashing something like the garlic and anchovies (above) easier. Its small size makes it a cinch to break up things like fennel seeds (not in this recipe). I got mine at Amazon where the price is right, and the choices are many. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Draining the black beans, after rinsing them. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

5. Add the zest and the fresh lemon juice, olive oil and the mashed garlic with anchovy and mix the dressing together until it becomes smooth.

6. Remove yolk from hard-boiled egg, chop the white and put in salad bowl.

 

Chopping egg whites and tomatoes at the same time. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

  

7. Cut up the avocado and put in salad bowl

8. Chop the tomato and put in salad bowl

9. Add the black beans and corn

10. Add the orange chopped pepper

 

Chopping the orange pepper. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

11.  Add the green leaf pieces

12. Toss everything together and enjoy

13. For variation, you can spoon the salad onto a corn tortilla and eat it that way.

14. Sprinkle with crushed Nori (this is the 4th special umami ingredient)

 

Warm corn taco, good any time, but especially good in hot summer months when you don’t want meals too complicated. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Although, we did manage to serve Pouilly-Fuisse when relatives came over for dinner, we’re still enjoying our recent discovery of The Vice, a delicious chardonnay, brought to us by a dinner guest. Did I say, the price is astoundingly, right? ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

This weekend, we raise our glasses in a toast to the FDA and the CDC, for keeping our food safe! Funded by tax payer dollars, these agencies are a part of our historically rich Democracy and we salute them!

 

 

Have a great week everyone!

 

From Our Table to Yours

Bon Appetit!

 

First-of-its-kind study combines NASA satellite observations of Earth with data on human activities to map where–and why–freshwater is changing around the globe

Date:
May 16, 2018

Source:
University of Maryland

Summary:
A new global, satellite-based study of Earth’s freshwater found that Earth’s wet areas are getting wetter, while dry areas are getting drier. The data suggest this pattern is due to many factors, including human water management practices, human-caused climate change and natural climate cycles.

 

This global map of freshwater stored on land for February 2016 using data from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment.
Credit: NASA

 

 

A new global, satellite-based study of Earth’s freshwater distribution found that Earth’s wet areas are getting wetter, while dry areas are getting drier. The data suggest that this pattern is due to a variety of factors, including human water management practices, human-caused climate change and natural climate cycles.

The NASA-led research team, which included Hiroko Beaudoing, a faculty specialist at the University of Maryland’s Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC), used 14 years of observations from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission to track global trends in freshwater in 34 regions around the world.

The study, published in the May 17, 2018 issue of the journal Nature, also incorporated satellite precipitation data from the ESSIC-led Global Precipitation Climatology Project; Landsat imagery from NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey; irrigation maps; and published reports of human activities related to agriculture, mining and reservoir operations. The study period spans from 2002 to 2016.

“This is the first time we’ve assessed how freshwater availability is changing, everywhere on Earth, using satellite observations,” said Matt Rodell, lead author of the paper and chief of the Hydrological Sciences Laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “A key goal was to distinguish shifts in terrestrial water storage caused by natural variability — wet periods and dry periods associated with El Niño and La Niña, for example — from trends related to climate change or human impacts, like pumping groundwater out of an aquifer faster than it is replenished.”

Freshwater is present in lakes, rivers, soil, snow, groundwater and glacial ice. Its loss in the ice sheets at the poles — attributed to climate change — has implications for sea level rise. On land, it is one of Earth’s most essential resources for drinking water and irrigation. While some regions’ water supplies are relatively stable, others normally experience increases or decreases. But the current study revealed a new and distressing pattern.

“What we are witnessing is major hydrologic change,” said co-author James Famiglietti of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “We see, for the first time, a very distinctive pattern of the wet land areas of the world getting wetter — those are the high latitudes and the tropics — and the dry areas in between getting dryer. Embedded within the dry areas we see multiple hotspots resulting from groundwater depletion.”

Famiglietti noted that while water loss in some regions is clearly driven by warming climate, such as the melting ice sheets and alpine glaciers, it will take more time before other patterns can be unequivocally attributed to climate change.

“The pattern of wet-getting-wetter, dry-getting-drier is predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change models for the end of the 21st century, but we’ll need a much longer dataset to be able to definitively say that climate change is responsible for the emergence of a similar pattern in the GRACE data,” Famiglietti said. “However, the current trajectory is certainly cause for concern.”

The twin GRACE satellites, launched in 2002 as a joint mission with the German Aerospace Center (DLR), precisely measured the distance between the two satellites to detect changes in Earth’s gravity field caused by movements of mass on the planet below. Using this method, GRACE tracked variations in terrestrial water storage on monthly to yearly timescales until its science mission ended in October 2017.

However, the GRACE satellite observations alone couldn’t tell Beaudoing, Rodell, Famiglietti and their colleagues what was causing an apparent trend.

“We examined information on precipitation, agriculture and groundwater pumping to find a possible explanation for the trends estimated from GRACE,” said Beaudoing, who also has a joint appointment at NASA Goddard.

One of the big causes of groundwater depletion across the board was agriculture, which can be complicated by natural cycles as seen in California, Famiglietti said. Decreases in freshwater caused by the severe drought from 2007 to 2015 were compounded by groundwater withdrawals to support the farms in the state’s Central Valley.

Southwestern California lost 4 gigatons of freshwater per year during the same period. A gigaton of water is the equivalent of the mass of water in 400,000 Olympic swimming pools. A majority of California’s freshwater comes in the form of rainfall and snow that collects in the Sierra Nevada as snowpack and then is managed through a series of reservoirs as it melts. When natural cycles led to dry years, causing diminished snowpack and surface waters, people relied on groundwater more heavily.

Downward trends in freshwater seen in Saudi Arabia also reflect agricultural pressures. From 2002 to 2016, the region lost 6.1 gigatons per year of stored groundwater. Imagery from the Landsat series of satellites shows the growth of irrigated farmland in the arid landscape from 1987 to the present, which explains the increased drawdown.

Natural cycles of rainy and dry years can also cause a trend in the 14-year data record that is unlikely to persist, Rodell said. An example is the western Zambezi basin and Okavango Delta, a vital watering hole for wildlife in northern Botswana. In this region, terrestrial water storage increased at an average rate of 29 gigatons per year from 2002 to 2016. This wet period during the GRACE mission followed at least two decades of dryness. Rodell believes this is a case of natural variability that occurs over decades in this region of Africa.

The researchers found that a combination of natural and human pressures can lead to complex scenarios in some regions. Previously undocumented water declines occurred in northwestern China in Xin Jiang province. This region, about the size of Kansas, is bordered by Kazakhstan to the west and the Taklamakan desert to the south and encompasses the central portion of the Tien Shan Mountains.

Rodell and his colleagues had to piece together multiple factors to explain the disappearance of 5.5 gigatons of terrestrial water storage per year in Xin Jiang Province. Less rainfall was not the culprit. Additions to surface water were also occurring from climate change-induced glacier melt and the pumping of groundwater out of coal mines. But these additions were more than offset by depletions caused by an increase in water consumption for the irrigation of cropland and evaporation of river water from the desert floor.

The successor to GRACE, called GRACE Follow-On, a joint mission with the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ), is at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California undergoing final preparations for launch.

Story Source:

Materials provided by University of MarylandNote: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. Rodell, J. S. Famiglietti, D. N. Wiese, J. T. Reager, H. K. Beaudoing, F. W. Landerer, M.-H. Lo. Emerging trends in global freshwater availabilityNature, 2018; DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0123-1

 

Source: University of Maryland. “Major shifts in global freshwater: First-of-its-kind study combines NASA satellite observations of Earth with data on human activities to map where–and why–freshwater is changing around the globe.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 May 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180516162536.htm>.

Novel method transfers superior nanoscale mechanics to macroscopic fibers

Date:
May 16, 2018

Source:
Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY

Summary:
At DESY’s X-ray light source PETRA III, researchers have produced the strongest bio-material that has ever been made. The artificial, but biodegradable cellulose fibers are stronger than steel and even than dragline spider silk, which is usually considered the strongest bio-based material.

 

An artificial cellulose fiber made from cellulose nano fibrils seen with a scanning electron microscope.
Credit: Nitesh Mittal, KTH Stockholm

 

 

At DESY’s X-ray light source PETRA III, a team led by Swedish researchers has produced the strongest bio-material that has ever been made. The artifical, but bio-degradable cellulose fibres are stronger than steel and even than dragline spider silk, which is usually considered the strongest bio-based material. The team headed by Daniel Söderberg from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm reports the work in the journal ACS Nano of the American Chemical Society.

The ultrastrong material is made of cellulose nanofibres (CNF), the essential building blocks of wood and other plant life. Using a novel production method, the researchers have successfully transferred the unique mechanical properties of these nanofibres to a macroscopic, lightweight material that could be used as an eco-friendly alternative for plastic in airplanes, cars, furniture and other products. “Our new material even has potential for biomedicine since cellulose is not rejected by your body,” explains Söderberg.

The scientists started with commercially available cellulose nanofibres that are just 2 to 5 nanometres in diameter and up to 700 nanometres long. A nanometre (nm) is a millionth of a millimetre. The nanofibres were suspended in water and fed into a small channel, just one millimetre wide and milled in steel. Through two pairs of perpendicular inflows additional deionized water and water with a low pH-value entered the channel from the sides, squeezing the stream of nanofibres together and accelerating it.

This process, called hydrodynamic focussing, helped to align the nanofibres in the right direction as well as their self-organisation into a well-packed macroscopic thread. No glue or any other component is needed, the nanofibres assemble into a tight thread held together by supramolecular forces between the nanofibres, for example electrostatic and Van der Waals forces.

With the bright X-rays from PETRA III the scientists could follow and optimise the process. “The X-rays allow us to analyse the detailed structure of the thread as it forms as well as the material structure and hierarchical order in the super strong fibres,” explains co-author Stephan Roth from DESY, head of the Micro- and Nanofocus X-ray Scattering Beamline P03 where the threads were spun. “We made threads up to 15 micrometres thick and several metres in length.”

Measurements showed a tensile stiffness of 86 gigapascals (GPa) for the material and a tensile strength of 1.57 GPa. “The bio-based nanocellulose fibres fabricated here are 8 times stiffer and have strengths higher than natural dragline spider silk fibres,” says Söderberg. “If you are looking for a bio-based material, there is nothing quite like it. And it is also stronger than steel and any other metal or alloy as well as glass fibres and most other synthetic materials.” The artificial cellulose fibres can be woven into a fabric to create materials for various applications. The researchers estimate that the production costs of the new material can compete with those of strong synthetic fabrics. “The new material can in principle be used to create bio-degradable components,” adds Roth.

The study describes a new method that mimics nature’s ability to accumulate cellulose nanofibres into almost perfect macroscale arrangements, like in wood. It opens the way for developing nanofibre material that can be used for larger structures while retaining the nanofibres’ tensile strength and ability to withstand mechanical load. “We can now transform the super performance from the nanoscale to the macroscale,” Söderberg underlines. “This discovery is made possible by understanding and controlling the key fundamental parameters essential for perfect nanostructuring, such as particle size, interactions, alignment, diffusion, network formation and assembly.” The process can also be used to control nanoscale assembly of carbon tubes and other nano-sized fibres.

Story Source:

Materials provided by Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESYNote: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Nitesh Mittal, Farhan Ansari, Krishne Gowda.V, Christophe Brouzet, Pan Chen, Per Tomas Larsson, Stephan V. Roth, Fredrik Lundell, Lars Wågberg, Nicholas A. Kotov, and L. Daniel Söderberg. Multiscale Control of Nanocellulose Assembly: Transferring Remarkable Nanoscale Fibril Mechanics to Macroscale FibersACS Nano, 2018 DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.8b0108

 

Source: Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY. “World’s Strongest bio-material outperforms steel and spider silk: Novel method transfers superior nanoscale mechanics to macroscopic fibers.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 May 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180516101413.htm>.

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