Tag Archives: Science Daily

University of British Columbia study: New DNA ‘clock’ could help measure development in young children

19 Oct

Rachel Nuwer wrote in the Scientific American article, Programming a DNA Clock: Engineers have created a DNA-based chemical “oscillator,” opening the door to molecular computing:

Nature is a master at constructing biological machines and circuits, including the ones that maintain the body’s internal clock, copy genes or help cells move. Now human engineers are learning to design and synthesize novel biochemical devices such as nanoscale factories, biological circuits and even molecular computers.
This work has so far relied mostly on using existing cellular components (enzymes, for example), but some researchers prefer to start from scratch. For these “molecular programmers,” DNA is the coding language of choice, and crafting circuits and machines to rival those found in nature is the ultimate goal. Recently they took a big step closer by creating the first oscillator—a molecular clock—made solely of DNA.
This milestone achievement, reported last December in Science, shows that DNA is not simply a passive carrier of genetic information. Instead it is a molecule that—even on its own—“is capable of complex behavior,” says senior author David Soloveichik, an electrical and computer engineer at the University of Texas at Austin. Building a DNA oscillator is a biological engineering feat in itself and would likely be integral for potential breakthroughs in synthetic biology, such as controlling the timing of events in artificial cells, scheduling the release of drugs and synchronizing molecular computers.
To create the device, Soloveichik, Niranjan Srinivas, then a doctoral candidate at the California Institute of Technology, and their colleagues built a DNA compiler—a series of algorithms that allows a programmer to issue molecule-building instructions without having to get into the nitty-gritty biochemistry. Software translates those instructions into DNA sequences that are synthesized and mixed together. The strands then self-assemble into molecular machines.
Using its compiler, the team programmed a prototype DNA oscillator that generates repeating patterns of “ticks” and “tocks.” In principle, Soloveichik says, the same formula can be used to produce more complex behavior, such as changing the clock’s speed in response to chemical signals. These clocks could eventually lead to chemical computation—after all, some of the first mechanical computers were simply sophisticated clocks…. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/programming-a-dna-clock/

Scientists have been studying and designing DNA Clocks. See, DNA clock helps to get measure of people’s lifespans https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150130092913.htm

Ricki Lewis, PhD wrote A New Biological Aging Clock: Ribosomal DNA:

A new biological clock could be put to good use. “Determining biological age is a central step to understanding fundamental aspects of aging as well as developing tools to inform personal and public health choices. We have hopes that the ribosomal clock will provide new insights into the impact of the environment and personal choices on long-term health,” said Dr. Lemos.
• assessing the effects of cancer treatments on biological aging, perhaps through a cheek swab test
• detecting how environmental exposures like pollution or factors such as lack of exercise or malnutrition affect biological aging
• determining the age structure of a natural population, perhaps through feces analyses
• estimating the age of a stray cat or dog. The animal shelter deemed our new cat Milton as 3, based on his teeth. Might his rDNA provide a more accurate assessment? This approach could be extended to checking the age of humans.
• manufacturers of cosmetics and skin care products can combine rDNA with SPF measurements to dole out dollops customized to how long a customer has until wrinkles appear…. https://blogs.plos.org/dnascience/2019/03/28/a-new-biological-aging-clock-ribosomal-dna/

The University of British Columbia studied the use of a DNA clock to measure development in young children.

Science Daily reported in New DNA ‘clock’ could help measure development in young children:

Scientists have developed a molecular “clock” that could reshape how pediatricians measure and monitor childhood growth and potentially allow for an earlier diagnosis of life-altering development disorders.
The research, published this week in PNAS, describes how the addition of chemical tags to DNA over time can potentially be used to screen for developmental differences and health problems in children.
The study was led by researchers at BC Children’s Hospital, the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the University of California, Los Angeles. It is the first study to describe a method specifically designed for children, called the Pediatric-Buccal-Epigenetic (PedBE) clock, which measures chemical changes to determine the biological age of a child’s DNA.
Small chemical changes to DNA, known as epigenetic changes, alter how genes are expressed in certain tissues and cells. Some of these changes happen as a person ages and others may be in response to a person’s environment or life experiences.
In adults, these patterns of epigenetic changes are well established. They can be used to accurately predict a person’s age from a DNA sample or, if a person’s epigenetic age differs from their actual age, it can point differences in health, including age-related diseases and early mortality.
“We have a good idea how these DNA changes occur in adults, but until now we didn’t have a tool that was specific for children,” says Dr. Michael Kobor, senior author of study. “These DNA changes occur at very different rates in kids and so we adapted this technique for younger ages….”
The PedBE clock was developed using DNA methylation profiles from 1,032 healthy children whose ages ranged from a few weeks old to 20 years. The researchers found 94 different sites in the genome that, when tested together, could accurately predict a child’s age to within about four months. The team also found that children who spent longer in the womb showed an accelerated rate of DNA change by three months, demonstrating that this tool could be used to indicate an infant’s developmental stage. The analysis can be done cheaply and efficiently on cells collected from a cheek swab.
“This powerful and easy-to-use tool could be used by clinicians to identify why some children aren’t meeting early milestones and potentially diagnose children with developmental disorders earlier in life,” says Dr. Lisa McEwen, first author on the study. “This would enable doctors and pediatricians to intervene sooner in a child’s life leading to better outcomes for kids.”
In a small pilot study, the researchers also found that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) showed a higher PedBE “age” than those considered to be developing typically, suggesting that the clock could be used to screen for ASD…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191015140253.htm

Citation:

New DNA ‘clock’ could help measure development in young children
Date: October 15, 2019
Source: University of British Columbia
Summary:
Scientists have developed a molecular ‘clock’ that could reshape how pediatricians measure and monitor childhood growth and potentially allow for an earlier diagnosis of life-altering development disorders.

Journal Reference:
Lisa M. McEwen, Kieran J. O’Donnell, Megan G. McGill, Rachel D. Edgar, Meaghan J. Jones, Julia L. MacIsaac, David Tse Shen Lin, Katia Ramadori, Alexander Morin, Nicole Gladish, Elika Garg, Eva Unternaehrer, Irina Pokhvisneva, Neerja Karnani, Michelle Z. L. Kee, Torsten Klengel, Nancy E. Adler, Ronald G. Barr, Nicole Letourneau, Gerald F. Giesbrecht, James N. Reynolds, Darina Czamara, Jeffrey M. Armstrong, Marilyn J. Essex, Carolina de Weerth, Roseriet Beijers, Marieke S. Tollenaar, Bekh Bradley, Tanja Jovanovic, Kerry J. Ressler, Meir Steiner, Sonja Entringer, Pathik D. Wadhwa, Claudia Buss, Nicole R. Bush, Elisabeth B. Binder, W. Thomas Boyce, Michael J. Meaney, Steve Horvath, Michael S. Kobor. The PedBE clock accurately estimates DNA methylation age in pediatric buccal cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2019; 201820843 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1820843116

Here is the press release from the University of British Columbia:

New DNA “clock” could help measure development in young children
October 15, 2019
Scientists have developed a molecular “clock” that could reshape how pediatricians measure and monitor childhood growth and potentially allow for an earlier diagnosis of life-altering development disorders.
The research, published this week in PNAS, describes how the addition of chemical tags to DNA over time can potentially be used to screen for developmental differences and health problems in children.
The study was led by researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC), BC Children’s Hospital, and the University of California, Los Angeles. It is the first study to describe a method specifically designed for children, called the Pediatric-Buccal-Epigenetic (PedBE) clock, which measures chemical changes to determine the biological age of a child’s DNA.
Small chemical changes to DNA, known as epigenetic changes, alter how genes are expressed in certain tissues and cells. Some of these changes happen as a person ages and others may be in response to a person’s environment or life experiences.
In adults, these patterns of epigenetic changes are well established. They can be used to accurately predict a person’s age from a DNA sample or, if a person’s epigenetic age differs from their actual age, it can point differences in health, including age-related diseases and early mortality.
“We have a good idea how these DNA changes occur in adults, but until now we didn’t have a tool that was specific for children,” says Dr. Michael Kobor, a UBC professor in the department of medical genetics, investigator at BC Children’s Hospital and senior study author. “These DNA changes occur at very different rates in kids and so we adapted this technique for younger ages.”
Dr. Kobor is also an investigator at the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics, the Canada Research Chair in Social Epigenetics and the Sunny Hill BC Leadership Chair in Child Development.
The PedBE clock was developed using DNA methylation profiles from 1,032 healthy children whose ages ranged from a few weeks old to 20 years. The researchers found 94 different sites in the genome that, when tested together, could accurately predict a child’s age to within about four months. The team also found that children who spent longer in the womb showed an accelerated rate of DNA change by three months, demonstrating that this tool could be used to indicate an infant’s developmental stage. The analysis can be done cheaply and efficiently on cells collected from a cheek swab.
“This powerful and easy-to-use tool could be used by clinicians to identify why some children aren’t meeting early milestones and potentially diagnose children with developmental disorders earlier in life,” says Dr. Lisa McEwen, lead study author who completed this research as a UBC PhD candidate in Dr. Kobor’s lab. “This would enable doctors and pediatricians to intervene sooner in a child’s life leading to better outcomes for kids.”
In a small pilot study, the researchers also found that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) showed a higher PedBE “age” than those considered to be developing typically, suggesting that the clock could be used to screen for ASD.
“The fact that our pediatric clock was able to distinguish between typically developing children and those with autism in this small experiment demonstrates the powerful potential of this tool,” says Dr. Kobor. “Although more research is needed to confirm this, these results show that the PedBE clock could be an important factor in evaluating how children develop.”
The researchers made the tool freely available along with the publication of this study so other research teams are able to use and experiment with the tool right away.
A version of this story originally appeared on the BC Children’s Hospital website. https://www.med.ubc.ca/news/new-dna-clock-could-help-measure-development-in-young-children/
Richard Harris wrote about potential uses of DNA diagnosis in A Boy’s Mysterious Illness Leads His Family On A Diagnostic Odyssey https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/10/16/769462793/a-boys-mysterious-illness-leads-his-family-on-a-diagnostic-odyssey

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.
Albert Einstein

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Santa Fe Institute study: Private property, not productivity, precipitated Neolithic agricultural revolution

13 Oct

Benjamin Powell wrote in Private Property Rights, Economic Freedom, and Well Being:

The question of why some countries are rich, and others are poor, is a question
that has plagued economists at least since 1776, when Adam Smith wrote An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Some countries that have a wealth of human and natural resources remain in poverty (in Sub-Saharan Africa for example) while other countries with few natural resources (like Hong Kong) flourish.
An understanding of how private property and economic freedom allow people to
coordinate their activities while engaging in trades that make them both people better off, gives us an indication of the institutional environment that is necessary for prosperity. Observation of the countries around the world also indicates that those countries with an institutional environment of secure property rights and high degrees of economic freedom have achieved higher levels of the various measures of human well being.

Property Rights and Voluntary Interaction

The freedom to exchange allows individuals to make trades that both parties
believe will make them better off. Private property provides the incentives for
individuals to economize on resource use because the user bears the costs of their actions. When private property is combined with market exchange, the price system that results provides the information and incentives for the many anonymous individuals in society to coordinate their activities to channel available resources to the people with the most urgent demand for them.

Private property forces individuals to bear the costs of their actions.

Without private ownership, when a person uses resources, they impose a cost on everyone else in society. Economists call this the “tragedy of the commons.” Communal property leads to over use, and depletion of resources. Once property is privatized and individually held, the owner may use the property for his own benefit but he also directly incurs the cost of using it. Private property provides an incentive to conserve resources and maintain capital for future production….
WORKING PAPER
https://www.mercatus.org/system/files/Private-Property-Rights-Economic-Freedom-and-Well-Being.pdf

Science Daily reported in Private property, not productivity, precipitated Neolithic agricultural revolution:

Humankind first started farming in Mesopotamia about 11,500 years ago. Subsequently, the practices of cultivating crops and raising livestock emerged independently at perhaps a dozen other places around the world, in what archaeologists call the Neolithic Agricultural Revolution. It’s one of the most thoroughly-studied episodes in prehistory — but a new paper in the Journal of Political Economy shows that most explanations for it don’t agree with the evidence, and offers a new interpretation.
With farming came a vast expansion of the realm over which private property governed access to valued goods, replacing the forager social norms around sharing food upon acquisition. A common explanation is that farming increased labor productivity, which then encouraged the adoption of private property by providing incentives for the long-term investments required in a farming economy.
“But it’s not what the data are telling us,” says Santa Fe Institute economist Samuel Bowles, a co-author of the paper. “It is very unlikely that the number of calories acquired from a day’s work at the advent of farming made it a better option than hunting and gathering and it could well have been quite a bit worse.”
Prior studies, including those of human and animal bones, suggest that farming actually took an extreme nutritional toll on early adopters and their livestock. So why farm in the first place?
Some have suggested an inferior technology could have been imposed by political elites as a strategy for extracting taxes, tribute, or rents. But farming was independently adopted millennia before the emergence of governments or political elites capable of imposing a new way of life on heavily-armed foraging communities.
Bowles and co-author Jung-Kyoo Choi, an economist at Kyungpook National University in South Korea, use both evolutionary game theory and archaeological evidence to propose a new interpretation of the Neolithic. Based on their model, a system of mutually recognized private property rights was both a precondition for farming and also a means of limiting costly conflicts among members of a population. While rare among foragers, private property did exist among a few groups of sedentary hunter-gatherers. Among them, farming could have benefited the first adopters because it would have been easier to establish the private possession of cultivated crops and domesticated animals than for the diffuse wild resources on which hunter-gatherers relied….
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191011131858.htm

Citation:

Private property, not productivity, precipitated Neolithic agricultural revolution
Date: October 11, 2019
Source: Santa Fe Institute
Summary:
The Neolithic Agricultural Revolution is one of the most thoroughly-studied episodes in prehistory. But a new article shows that most explanations for it don’t agree with the evidence, and offers a new interpretation.

Journal Reference:
Samuel Bowles, Jung-Kyoo Choi. The Neolithic Agricultural Revolution and the Origins of Private Property. Journal of Political Economy, 2019; 127 (5): 2186 DOI: 10.1086/701789

Here is the press release from the Santa Fe Institute:

OCTOBER 10, 2019
Humankind first started farming in Mesopotamia about 11,500 years ago. Subsequently, the practices of cultivating crops and raising livestock emerged independently at perhaps a dozen other places around the world, in what archaeologists call the Neolithic Agricultural Revolution. It’s one of the most thoroughly-studied episodes in prehistory — but a new paper in the Journal of Political Economy shows that most explanations for it don’t agree with the evidence, and offers a new interpretation.
With farming came a vast expansion of the realm over which private property governed access to valued goods, replacing the forager social norms around sharing food upon acquisition. A common explanation is that farming increased labor productivity, which then encouraged the adoption of private property by providing incentives for the long-term investments required in a farming economy.
“But it’s not what the data are telling us”, says Santa Fe Institute economist Samuel Bowles, a co-author of the paper. “It is very unlikely that the number of calories acquired from a day’s work at the advent of farming made it a better option than hunting and gathering and it could well have been quite a bit worse.”
Prior studies, including those of human and animal bones, suggest that farming actually took an extreme nutritional toll on early adopters and their livestock. So why farm in the first place?
Some have suggested an inferior technology could have been imposed by political elites as a strategy for extracting taxes, tribute, or rents. But farming was independently adopted millennia before the emergence of governments or political elites capable of imposing a new way of life on heavily-armed foraging communities.
Bowles and co-author Jung-Kyoo Choi, an economist at Kyungpook National University in South Korea, use both evolutionary game theory and archaeological evidence to propose a new interpretation of the Neolithic. Based on their model, a system of mutually recognized private property rights was both a precondition for farming and also a means of limiting costly conflicts among members of a population. While rare among foragers, private property did exist among a few groups of sedentary hunter-gatherers. Among them, farming could have benefited the first adopters because it would have been easier to establish the private possession of cultivated crops and domesticated animals than for the diffuse wild resources on which hunter-gatherers relied.
“It is a lot easier to define and defend property rights in a domesticated cow than in a wild kudu,” says Choi. “Farming initially succeeded because it facilitated a broader application of private property rights, not because it lightened the toil of making a living.”
Read the paper, “The Neolithic Agricultural Revolution and the Origins of Private Property,” in the Journal of Political Economy (October 2019) https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/701789

Tom DeWeese wrote in Private Property Ownership Is the Only Way to Eradicate Poverty:

Poverty. It’s the excuse for nearly every government spending program. Help the poor. Tax the Rich. Get the One Percent. How dare they get so wealthy while everyone else suffers!

And what is the preferred way to eliminate poverty? Redistribution of wealth. It is the force behind the Occupy Wall Street movement, Agenda 21 and its Social Justice schemes, nearly every poverty program of the Federal government, and even most charitable poverty programs….
The Real Way to End Poverty

It is becoming increasingly clear that poverty will never be eradicated unless those working on the problem will allow themselves to look for a drastically new way to attack it. Simply put, rather than constantly applying band-aids to the effects of poverty, they must look for the cause and fix it.

One must first look at the world and see where wealth is created and why it is so. The greatest example of wealth creation is obviously the United States. It is the beacon of wealth and freedom for the entire world. Most people in the world envy America’s wealth and seek ways to share it, yet very few look at how the nation got its wealth, or attempt to copy its system for success.

Why did the United States become so wealthy? Was it the possession of vast natural resources? Africa has more. Was it the existence of greater industry? Japan has more. Was it the existence of a superior education system? The United States now ranks below the top ten nations in education.

The reason the United States has led the world in wealth, standard of living, and abundance is that the average resident of the United States has had the ability and the opportunity to invest and produce capital.

Why could ordinary citizens of the United States produce their own capital to create personal wealth, while most of the rest of the world failed at such an attempt? The answer is actually very simple. The United States created a very easy, immediate, complete system for recording and securing ownership of private property.

Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto explains the root of American wealth in his book, The Mystery of Capital. De Soto asks, “Why does Capitalism thrive only in the West, as if enclosed in a bell jar?”

Capital, he argues, “is the force that raises the productivity of labor and creates the wealth of nations, It is the lifeblood of the capitalist system, the foundation of progress, and the one thing that the poor countries of the world cannot seem to produce for themselves….”
https://www.thenewamerican.com/reviews/opinion/item/13821-private-property-ownership-is-the-only-way-to-eradicate-poverty

See, Reasons for Low Capital Formation in Under-Developed Countries http://www.economicsdiscussion.net/articles/reasons-for-low-capital-formation-in-under-developed-countries/1537

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

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Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
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Dr. Wilda ©
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University of California Davis study: A breath test for opioids

6 Oct

The National Institute on Drug Abuse provides information on opioids:

Brief Description
Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, and many others.
• Summary
• All opioids are chemically related and interact with opioid receptors on nerve cells in the body and brain. Opioid pain relievers are generally safe when taken for a short time and as prescribed by a doctor, but because they produce euphoria in addition to pain relief, they can be misused (taken in a different way or in a larger quantity than prescribed, or taken without a doctor’s prescription). Regular use—even as prescribed by a doctor—can lead to dependence and, when misused, opioid pain relievers can lead to addiction, overdose incidents, and deaths.
• An opioid overdose can be reversed with the drug naloxone when given right away. Improvements have been seen in some regions of the country in the form of decreasing availability of prescription opioid pain relievers and decreasing misuse among the Nation’s teens. However, since 2007, overdose deaths related to heroin have been increasing. Fortunately, effective medications exist to treat opioid use disorders including methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone.
• A NIDA study found that once treatment is initiated, both a buprenorphine/naloxone combination and an extended release naltrexone formulation are similarly effective in treating opioid addiction. However, naltrexone requires full detoxification, so initiating treatment among active users was more difficult. These medications help many people recover from opioid addiction.
• NIDA’s Role in the NIH HEAL Initiative℠ https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/nidas-role-in-nih-heal-initiative
• Prescription Opioids https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-opioids
• Heroin https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/heroin
• Fentanyl https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/fentanyl
• Opioid Research Findings Funded by NIDA
https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids

Opioids are powerful drugs and can be abused.

Resources:
What Is an Opioid? – Teens – Drug Information
https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/what-opioid

What are opioids and why are they dangerous? – Mayo Clinic
https://www.mayoclinic.org/…/expert-answers/what-are-opioids/faq-20381270

The American Society of Anesthesiologists has a concise description of opioid abuse at their site:

Opioid Abuse
Opioids are highly addictive, and opioid abuse has become a national crisis in the United States. Statistics highlight the severity of the epidemic, with the National Institute on Drug Abuse reporting that more than 2 million Americans abuse opioids and that more than 90 Americans die by opioid overdose every day, on average.
Why do people become addicted to opioids?
Opioids can make your brain and body believe the drug is necessary for survival. As you learn to tolerate the dose you’ve been prescribed, you may find that you need even more medication to relieve the pain or achieve well-being, which can lead to dependency. Addiction takes hold of our brains in several ways — and is far more complex and less forgiving than many people realize.
How can you avoid addiction to opioids?
If you or a loved one is considering taking opioids to manage pain, it is vital to talk to a physician anesthesiologist or other pain medicine specialist about using them safely and exploring alternative options if needed. Learn how to work with your physician anesthesiologist or another physician to use opioids more wisely and safely and explore what pain management alternatives might work for you.
What are the signs of an addiction?
People addicted to drugs may change their behavior. Possible signs include:
• Mixing with different groups of people or changing friends
• Spending time alone and avoiding time with family and friends
• Losing interest in activities
• Not bathing, changing clothes or brushing their teeth
• Being very tired and sad
• Eating more or less than usual
• Being overly energetic, talking fast and saying things that don’t make sense
• Being nervous or cranky
• Quickly changing moods
• Sleeping at odd hours
• Missing important appointments
• Getting into trouble with the law
• Attending work or school on an erratic schedule
• Experiencing financial hardship
https://www.asahq.org/whensecondscount/pain-management/opioid-treatment/opioid-abuse/

The University of California Davis has developed a breath test for opioids.

Science Daily reported in A breath test for opioids:

A test to detect opioid drugs in exhaled breath has been developed by engineers and physicians at the University of California, Davis. A breath test could be useful in caring for chronic pain patients as well as for checking for illegal drug use.
“There are a few ways we think this could impact society,” said Professor Cristina Davis, chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UC Davis, who led the research along with Professor Michael Schivo from the UC Davis Medical Center. The work is described in a paper published in the Journal of Breath Research Oct. 3.
Doctors and nurses treating chronic pain may need to monitor patients to make sure they are taking their drugs correctly, that their prescribed drugs are being metabolized properly and that they are not taking additional medications. Blood tests are the gold standard: a reliable, noninvasive test would be a useful alternative.
Collecting droplets from breath
For the test developed by postdoctoral researcher Eva Borras, Davis and colleagues, subjects breathe normally into a specialized collection device. Droplets in breath condense and are stored in a freezer until testing. Davis’ lab uses mass spectrometry to identify compounds in the samples.
The researchers tested the technique in a small group of patients receiving infusions of pain medications including morphine and hydromorphone, or oral doses of oxycodone, at the UC Davis Medical Center. They were therefore able to compare opioid metabolites in breath with both blood samples and the doses given to patients.
“We can see both the original drug and metabolites in exhaled breath,” Davis said.
Fully validating the breath test will require more data from larger groups of patients, she said. Davis’ laboratory is working toward real-time, bedside testing…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191004105645.htm

Citation:

A breath test for opioids
Date: October 4, 2019
Source: University of California – Davis
Summary:
A test to detect opioid drugs in exhaled breath has been developed by engineers and physicians. A breath test could be useful in caring for chronic pain patients as well as for checking for illegal drug use.

Journal Reference:
Eva Borras, Andy Cheng, Ted Wun, Kristen L Reese, Matthias Frank, Michael Schivo, Cristina E Davis. Detecting opioid metabolites in exhaled breath condensate (EBC). Journal of Breath Research, 2019; 13 (4): 046014 DOI: 10.1088/1752-7163/ab35fd

Here is the press release from University of California Davis:

A Breath Test for Opioids
By Andy Fell on October 3, 2019 in Human & Animal Health
UC Davis researchers have developed a method for detecting opioid drugs and drug metabolites in breath. The test could be useful for management of patients with chronic pain, as well as for detecting illegal opioid use. (Credit: Charles Wollertz/Getty Images)
A test to detect opioid drugs in exhaled breath has been developed by engineers and physicians at the University of California, Davis. A breath test could be useful in caring for chronic pain patients as well as for checking for illegal drug use.
“There are a few ways we think this could impact society,” said Professor Cristina Davis, chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UC Davis, who led the research along with Professor Michael Schivo from the UC Davis Medical Center. The work is described in a paper published in the Journal of Breath Research Oct. 3.
Doctors and nurses treating chronic pain may need to monitor patients to make sure they are taking their drugs correctly, that their prescribed drugs are being metabolized properly and that they are not taking additional medications. Blood tests are the gold standard: a reliable, noninvasive test would be a useful alternative.
Collecting droplets from breath
For the test developed by postdoctoral researcher Eva Borras, Davis and colleagues, subjects breathe normally into a specialized collection device. Droplets in breath condense and are stored in a freezer until testing. Davis’ lab uses mass spectrometry to identify compounds in the samples.
The researchers tested the technique in a small group of patients receiving infusions of pain medications including morphine and hydromorphone, or oral doses of oxycodone, at the UC Davis Medical Center. They were therefore able to compare opioid metabolites in breath with both blood samples and the doses given to patients.
“We can see both the original drug and metabolites in exhaled breath,” Davis said.
Fully validating the breath test will require more data from larger groups of patients, she said. Davis’ laboratory is working toward real-time, bedside testing.
Other authors on the paper include graduate student Andy Cheng, UC Davis forensic science program; Ted Wun, Department of Internal Medicine; Kristen Reese and Matthias Frank, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; and Michael Schivo, UC Davis School of Medicine and VA Northern California Health System.
Davis’ laboratory is working on a variety of applications for detecting small amounts of chemicals, especially in air and exhaled breath. Other projects include diagnosing influenza in people and citrus greening disease in fruit trees.
The work was supported by grants from the UC Davis Medical Center’s Collaborative for Diagnostic Innovation, the U.S. Department of Energy and the NIH.
Media contact(s)
Cristina Davis, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, 530-754-9004, cedavis@ucdavis.edu
Andy Fell, News and Media Relations, 530-752-4533, ahfell@ucdavis.edu
Media Resources
Read the paper (Journal of Breath Research) https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1752-7163/ab35fd

The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines the opioid crisis:

Revised January 2019
Every day, more than 130 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids.1 The misuse of and addiction to opioids—including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl—is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total “economic burden” of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.2
How did this happen?
In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers, and healthcare providers began to prescribe them at greater rates. This subsequently led to widespread diversion and misuse of these medications before it became clear that these medications could indeed be highly addictive.3,4 Opioid overdose rates began to increase. In 2017, more than 47,000 Americans died as a result of an opioid overdose, including prescription opioids, heroin, and illicitly manufactured fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid.1 That same year, an estimated 1.7 million people in the United States suffered from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers, and 652,000 suffered from a heroin use disorder (not mutually exclusive).5
What do we know about the opioid crisis?
• Roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them.6
• Between 8 and 12 percent develop an opioid use disorder.6
• An estimated 4 to 6 percent who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin.7–9
• About 80 percent of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids.7
• Opioid overdoses increased 30 percent from July 2016 through September 2017 in 52 areas in 45 states.10
• The Midwestern region saw opioid overdoses increase 70 percent from July 2016 through September 2017.10
• Opioid overdoses in large cities increase by 54 percent in 16 states.10

This issue has become a public health crisis with devastating consequences including increases in opioid misuse and related overdoses, as well as the rising incidence of neonatal abstinence syndrome due to opioid use and misuse during pregnancy. The increase in injection drug use has also contributed to the spread of infectious diseases including HIV and hepatitis C. As seen throughout the history of medicine, science can be an important part of the solution in resolving such a public health crisis.
https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis

 

“The mentality, thought system and relationships that got you into addiction will keep you there unless you disentangle yourself from them.”

Oche Otorkpa,
The Night Before I killed Addiction

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University of Nottingham study: You don’t have to go cold turkey on red meat to see health benefits

2 Oct

Joanne Marie wrote in the SF Gate article, Ways You Benefit by Eating Meat:

Meat refers to cuts of beef, pork, veal, lamb and poultry — and all but poultry are red meats. These foods provide you with protein, an important nutrient, along with some essential vitamins and minerals. Meat can be high in fat, a nutrient that you should consume in moderation. Choose low-fat meats and prepare them in the healthiest way to get the most benefit from these foods.
Protein
Protein is a nutrient that is critical to keep your body functioning normally. When you consume protein-containing food, your gastrointestinal tract digests it, breaking it down into its building blocks, amino acids. These molecules are absorbed into your blood and travel to all of your cells, which use them to construct many different new proteins. Examples include enzymes that fuel biochemical reactions, structural proteins in your muscles and proteins that control what molecules can enter your cells. Meat is a complete protein source that provides all the essential amino acids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which also says you should consume about 50 grams of protein daily. In general, a 3-ounce piece of red meat — the serving size recommended by the Mayo Clinic — contains about 21 grams of protein, and poultry has about 15 grams.
Iron
Meat is an excellent source of iron, a mineral required to support human life. When your bone marrow makes new red blood cells, it incorporates iron into hemoglobin, the compound that carries oxygen to all your cells. Your body also adds iron to myoglobin, a compound that allows your muscle cells to use oxygen; other iron-containing compounds support DNA production, immune function and the manufacture of some neurotransmitters. The recommended dietary allowance for iron is 8 milligrams per day for men and 18 milligrams for women under 50; after menopause, the RDA for women is the same as for men. A 3-ounce serving of beef, pork or lamb provides between 1 and 3 milligrams of iron; a similar serving of chicken or turkey contains about 1 milligram of iron.
Other Nutrients
Red meat and poultry contain a number of vitamins. These include vitamin A, which is important for healthy bones, teeth, skin and eyes, and vitamin D, which is critical for calcium metabolism and strong bones. Meat also provides B-complex vitamins, including thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid and vitamins B-5, B-6 and B-12. Your body uses these vitamins to help produce energy from your food to support your nervous system and keep your heart healthy. In addition to iron, red meat and poultry also provide several other minerals, including magnesium, potassium, selenium and zinc, all of which are needed to help keep your organs functioning well…. https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/ways-benefit-eating-meat-4357.html

A University of Nottingham study finds that meat can be included in a balanced diet.

Science Daily reported the University of Nottingham study: You don’t have to go cold turkey on red meat to see health:

A new study has found that halving the amount red and processed (RPM) meat in the diet can have a significant impact on health, reducing the amount of LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol in the blood which cuts the risk of developing heart disease.
Red and processed meat (RPM) include fresh pork, beef, lamb and veal and meats that have been smoked, cured or preserved (other than freezing) in some way. These meats are typically high in saturated fatty acids which cause an increase in LDL cholesterol. This is the “bad” cholesterol that collects in the walls of blood vessels, where it can cause blockages and raise the chance of a heart attack.
Increasing awareness of the risks associated with eating red and processed meat has led to a growing number of people adopting vegetarian and vegan diets, which cut out meat completely. Researchers at the University of Nottingham wanted to find out if reducing the amount of red meat eaten, rather than cutting it out completely, would have a positive effect on the health of the subjects taking part.
Reducing cholesterol
The results, published today in the journal Food & Function showed that the most significant change was a drop in the amount of LDL cholesterol in the blood, and those with the highest levels in the beginning had the biggest drop. Overall there was an average drop in LDL cholesterol of approximately 10% with men (who tended to have the highest starting values) seeing the biggest change.
For this intervention trial, 46 people agreed to reduce their red meat intake over a period of 12 weeks by substituting it for white meat, fish or a meat substitutes, or by reducing the portion size of their red meat. They kept a food diary during the study and were given blood tests at the beginning and intervals throughout.
Professor Andrew Salter, from the University of Nottingham’s School of Biosciences led the study and says: “With a high saturated fatty acid, content red and processed meat has been linked to heart disease, and other chronic diseases, particularly colon cancer. Studies have shown that in people who eat the most meat, there is a 40% increased risk of them dying due to heart disease. The results of the present study showed that, even in relatively young and healthy individuals, making relatively small changes to RPM intake induced significant changes in LDL cholesterol which, if maintained over a period of time could potentially reduce the risk of developing heart disease.”
As well as reducing levels of LDL cholesterol, reseachers were surprised to also see a drop in white and red cells in the blood.
Dr Liz Simpson from the University of Nottingham’s School of Life Sciences is co-author on the study, she explains: “Meat is a rich source of the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) required for the manufacture of blood cells, and although it is possible to obtain these nutrients in plant-based diets, our results suggest that those reducing their meat intake need to ensure that their new diet contains a wide variety of fruit, vegetables, pulses and whole grains to provide these nutrients…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190930101521.htm

Citation:

You don’t have to go cold turkey on red meat to see health benefits
Date: September 30, 2019
Source: University of Nottingham
Summary:
A new study has found that halving the amount red and processed (RPM) meat in the diet can have a significant impact on health, reducing the amount of LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol in the blood which cuts the risk of developing heart disease.

Here is the press release from University of Nottingham:

NEWS RELEASE 30-SEP-2019

You don’t have to go cold turkey on red meat to see health benefits

UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM

A new study has found that halving the amount red and processed (RPM) meat in the diet can have a significant impact on health, reducing the amount of LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol in the blood which cuts the risk of developing heart disease.
Red and processed meat (RPM) include fresh pork, beef, lamb and veal and meats that have been smoked, cured or preserved (other than freezing) in some way. These meats are typically high in saturated fatty acids which cause an increase in LDL cholesterol. This is the “bad” cholesterol that collects in the walls of blood vessels, where it can cause blockages and raise the chance of a heart attack.
Increasing awareness of the risks associated with eating red and processed meat has led to a growing number of people adopting vegetarian and vegan diets, which cut out meat completely. Researchers at the University of Nottingham wanted to find out if reducing the amount of red meat eaten, rather than cutting it out completely, would have a positive effect on the health of the subjects taking part.
Reducing cholesterol
The results, published today in the journal Food & Function showed that the most significant change was a drop in the amount of LDL cholestorol in the blood, and those with the highest levels in the beginning had the biggest drop. Overall there was an average drop in LDL cholesterol of approximately 10% with men (who tended to have the highest starting values) seeing the biggest change.
For this intervention trial, 46 people agreed to reduce their red meat intake over a period of 12 weeks by substituting it for white meat, fish or a meat substitutes, or by reducing the portion size of their red meat. They kept a food diary during the study and were given blood tests at the beginning and intervals throughout.
Professor Andrew Salter, from the University of Nottingham’s School of Biosciences led the study and says: “With a high saturated fatty acid, content red and processed meat has been linked to heart disease, and other chronic diseases, particularly colon cancer. Studies have shown that in people who eat the most meat, there is a 40% increased risk of them dying due to heart disease. The results of the present study showed that, even in relatively young and healthy individuals, making relatively small changes to RPM intake induced significant changes in LDL cholesterol which, if maintained over a period of time could potentially reduce the risk of developing heart disease.”
As well as reducing levels of LDL cholestoral, reseachers were surprised to also see a drop in white and red cells in the blood.
Dr Liz Simpson from the University of Nottingham’s School of Life Sciences is co-author on the study, she explains: “Meat is a rich source of the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) required for the manufacture of blood cells, and although it is possible to obtain these nutrients in plant-based diets, our results suggest that those reducing their meat intake need to ensure that their new diet contains a wide variety of fruit, vegetables, pulses and whole grains to provide these nutrients.
Professor Salter is also part of the Future Food Beacon at the University of Nottingham which is undertaking research to find more sustainable ways to feed a growing population in a changing climate. He explains: “As well as improving people’s health, reducing the amount of red meat we eat is also important from a food security and sustainability perspective, as livestock production utilizes a large proportion of our natural resources and is a major contributor to greenhouse gas production. Part of our research is centred on finding more sustainable, alternative sources of food that provide us with the protein and other nutrients supplied by meat, but without the negative health and environmental effects ”
###
This study was funded by BBSRC and MRC through the Innovate UK project.
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

Cathy Fenster, M.Sc, RD wrote in 9 Reasons Why Eating Meat Is Good For Health:

I eat meat daily. I’m not Jewish. I’m not Arabic. What’s the kind of person that doesn’t eat meat? That’s right – I’m not a vegetarian.
Chuck Berry

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National Jewish Health study: African American children respond differently to asthma medications

28 Sep

The Mayo Clinic provides a concise definition of Asthma:

Overview
Asthma attack
Asthma is a condition in which your airways narrow and swell and produce extra mucus. This can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.
For some people, asthma is a minor nuisance. For others, it can be a major problem that interferes with daily activities and may lead to a life-threatening asthma attack.
Asthma can’t be cured, but its symptoms can be controlled. Because asthma often changes over time, it’s important that you work with your doctor to track your signs and symptoms and adjust treatment as needed. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/asthma/symptoms-causes/syc-20369653

The National Center for Health Statistics has stats on health related issues.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics:

Asthma
Data are for the U.S.
Morbidity
• Number of adults aged 18 and over who currently have asthma: 19.0 million
• Percent of adults aged 18 and over who currently have asthma: 7.7%
Source: Summary Health Statistics Tables for U.S. Adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2017, tables A-2b, A-2c pdf icon[PDF – 137 KB]
• Number of children under age 18 years who currently have asthma: 6.2 million
• Percent of children under age 18 years who currently have asthma: 8.4%
Source: Summary Health Statistics Tables for U.S. Children: National Health Interview Survey, 2017, tables C-1b, C-1c pdf icon[PDF – 99.8 KB]
Physician office visits
• Percent of visits to office-based physicians with asthma indicated on the medical record: 7.1%
Source: National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey: 2016 National Summary Tables, tables 18 pdf icon[PDF – 793 KB]
Emergency department visits
• Percent of visits to emergency departments with asthma indicated on the medical record: 10.1%
Source: National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey: 2016 Emergency Department Summary Tables, table 13 pdf icon[PDF – 738 KB]
Mortality
• Number of deaths: 3,564
• Deaths per 100,000 population: 1.1
Source: Deaths: Final Data for 2017, Supplemental Tables, tables I-12, I-13 pdf icon[PDF – 2 MB]
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/asthma.htm

According to a study by National Jewish Health, African-American children respond differently to different medications for asthma.

Resources:

Need Help Managing Your Asthma? https://www.asthma.com/?bing=e_&rotation=71700000038361464&banner=58700004208867532&kw=34938313622&cc=6A9489DC2E35&pid=43700012675028871&gclid=CLygyM2c9OQCFYOngQodxLwFHQ&gclsrc=ds
Asthma: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment https://www.webmd.com/asthma/what-is-asthma

Asthma | National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/asthma

Science Daily reported in African American children respond differently to asthma medications:

African Americans suffer asthma more often and more severely than Caucasian patients. However, clinical trials that have shaped treatment guidelines have included few African Americans. A new report demonstrates a shortcoming of that history. Researchers at National Jewish Health and their colleagues around the nation in the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute’s AsthmaNet report that African American children respond differently than African American adults and Caucasian adults and children to step-up therapies for inadequately controlled asthma.
“Asthma is a tremendously variable disease,” said Michael Wechsler, MD, professor of medicine at National Jewish Health and first author on the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. “We need to more closely study subgroups of asthma patients, especially those disproportionately burdened by disease, such as African Americans.”
The researchers evaluated 280 children, ages 5-11, and 294 adolescents/adults of African American ancestry whose asthma was inadequately controlled with low doses of inhaled corticosteroids. Treatment guidelines call for adding a long-acting beta agonist as the preferred step-up therapy. Researchers several medication strategies — adding long-acting beta agonists, increasing inhaled steroids alone and both increasing inhaled steroids and adding long-acting beta agonists.
The researchers measured response by evaluating several factors including exacerbations, asthma control days and lung function.
More adult African Americans responded better to adding long-acting beta agonists (49 percent) versus increasing inhaled steroids alone (28 percent). Caucasians have shown a similar response in previous trials.
However, even numbers of African American children responded better to increasing the dose of inhaled corticosteroids along (46 percent) and adding long-acting beta agonists (46 percent).
“These results indicate that asthma treatment guidelines do not necessarily apply to African American children and that physicians should consider alternatives,” said Dr. Wechsler. “We need to do a better job of understanding how different subgroups respond to asthma treatment….” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190927135119.htm

Citation:

African American children respond differently to asthma medications
BARD trial suggests shortcomings in treatment guidelines and demonstrates need for trials of specific subgroups

Date: September 27, 2019
Source: National Jewish Health
Summary:
African Americans suffer asthma more often and more severely than Caucasian patients. However, clinical trials that have shaped treatment guidelines have included few African Americans. A new report demonstrates a shortcoming of that history. Researchers report that African American children respond differently than African American adults and Caucasian adults and children to step-up therapies for inadequately controlled asthma.

Journal Reference:
Michael E. Wechsler, Stanley J. Szefler, Victor E. Ortega, Jacqueline A. Pongracic, Vernon Chinchilli, John J. Lima, Jerry A. Krishnan, Susan J. Kunselman, David Mauger, Eugene R. Bleecker, Leonard B. Bacharier, Avraham Beigelman, Mindy Benson, Kathryn V. Blake, Michael D. Cabana, Juan-Carlos Cardet, Mario Castro, James F. Chmiel, Ronina Covar, Loren Denlinger, Emily DiMango, Anne M. Fitzpatrick, Deborah Gentile, Nicole Grossman, Fernando Holguin, Daniel J. Jackson, Harsha Kumar, Monica Kraft, Craig F. LaForce, Jason Lang, Stephen C. Lazarus, Robert F. Lemanske, Dayna Long, Njira Lugogo, Fernando Martinez, Deborah A. Meyers, Wendy C. Moore, James Moy, Edward Naureckas, J. Tod Olin, Stephen P. Peters, Wanda Phipatanakul, Loretta Que, Hengameh Raissy, Rachel G. Robison, Kristie Ross, William Sheehan, Lewis J. Smith, Julian Solway, Christine A. Sorkness, Lisa Sullivan-Vedder, Sally Wenzel, Steven White, Elliot Israel. Step-Up Therapy in Black Children and Adults with Poorly Controlled Asthma. New England Journal of Medicine, 2019; 381 (13): 1227 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1905560

Here is the press report from National Jewish Health:

NEWS RELEASE 27-SEP-2019
African American children respond differently to asthma medications
BARD trial suggests shortcomings in treatment guidelines and demonstrates need for trials of specific subgroups
NATIONAL JEWISH HEALTH
African Americans suffer asthma more often and more severely than Caucasian patients. However, clinical trials that have shaped treatment guidelines have included few African Americans. A new report demonstrates a shortcoming of that history. Researchers at National Jewish Health and their colleagues around the nation in the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute’s AsthmaNet report that African American children respond differently than African American adults and Caucasian adults and children to step-up therapies for inadequately controlled asthma.
“Asthma is a tremendously variable disease,” said Michael Wechsler, MD, professor of medicine at National Jewish Health and first author on the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. “We need to more closely study subgroups of asthma patients, especially those disproportionately burdened by disease, such as African Americans.”
The researchers evaluated 280 children, ages 5-11, and 294 adolescents/adults of African American ancestry whose asthma was inadequately controlled with low doses of inhaled corticosteroids. Treatment guidelines call for adding a long-acting beta agonist as the preferred step-up therapy. Researchers several medication strategies – adding long-acting beta agonists, increasing inhaled steroids alone and both increasing inhaled steroids and adding long-acting beta agonists.
The researchers measured response by evaluating several factors including exacerbations, asthma control days and lung function.
More adult African Americans responded better to adding long-acting beta agonists (49 percent) versus increasing inhaled steroids alone (28 percent). Caucasians have shown a similar response in previous trials.
However, even numbers of African American children responded better to increasing the dose of inhaled corticosteroids along (46 percent) and adding long-acting beta agonists (46 percent).
“These results indicate that asthma treatment guidelines do not necessarily apply to African American children and that physicians should consider alternatives,” said Dr. Wechsler. “We need to do a better job of understanding how different subgroups respond to asthma treatment.”
The researchers also looked at several biological and genetic factors to determine if any could predict treatment response. However, they did not find that any biomarkers or percentage of African American ancestry was associated treatment response.
###
National Jewish Health is the leading respiratory hospital in the nation. Founded 120 years ago as a nonprofit hospital, National Jewish Health today is the only facility in the world dedicated exclusively to groundbreaking medical research and treatment of patients with respiratory, cardiac, immune and related disorders. Patients and families come to National Jewish Health from around the world to receive cutting-edge, comprehensive, coordinated care. To learn more, visit http://www.njhealth.org.
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

It is important to seek competent medical advice for the diagnosis or treatment of asthma.

The Mayo Clinic explained the diagnosis of asthma:

Diagnosis

Physical exam

To rule out other possible conditions — such as a respiratory infection or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) — your doctor will do a physical exam and ask you questions about your signs and symptoms and about any other health problems.
Tests to measure lung function
You may also be given lung (pulmonary) function tests to determine how much air moves in and out as you breathe. These tests may include:
• Spirometry. This test estimates the narrowing of your bronchial tubes by checking how much air you can exhale after a deep breath and how fast you can breathe out.
• Peak flow. A peak flow meter is a simple device that measures how hard you can breathe out. Lower than usual peak flow readings are a sign your lungs may not be working as well and that your asthma may be getting worse. Your doctor will give you instructions on how to track and deal with low peak flow readings.
Lung function tests often are done before and after taking a medication called a bronchodilator (brong-koh-DIE-lay-tur), such as albuterol, to open your airways. If your lung function improves with use of a bronchodilator, it’s likely you have asthma.
Additional tests
Other tests to diagnose asthma include:
• Methacholine challenge. Methacholine is a known asthma trigger that, when inhaled, will cause mild constriction of your airways. If you react to the methacholine, you likely have asthma. This test may be used even if your initial lung function test is normal.
• Nitric oxide test. This test, though not widely available, measures the amount of the gas, nitric oxide, that you have in your breath. When your airways are inflamed — a sign of asthma — you may have higher than normal nitric oxide levels.
• Imaging tests. A chest X-ray and high-resolution computerized tomography (CT) scan of your lungs and nose cavities (sinuses) can identify any structural abnormalities or diseases (such as infection) that can cause or aggravate breathing problems.
• Allergy testing. This can be performed by a skin test or blood test. Allergy tests can identify allergy to pets, dust, mold and pollen. If important allergy triggers are identified, this can lead to a recommendation for allergen immunotherapy.
• Sputum eosinophils. This test looks for certain white blood cells (eosinophils) in the mixture of saliva and mucus (sputum) you discharge during coughing. Eosinophils are present when symptoms develop and become visible when stained with a rose-colored dye (eosin).
• Provocative testing for exercise and cold-induced asthma. In these tests, your doctor measures your airway obstruction before and after you perform vigorous physical activity or take several breaths of cold air.
How asthma is classified
To classify your asthma severity, your doctor considers your answers to questions about symptoms (such as how often you have asthma attacks and how bad they are), along with the results of your physical exam and diagnostic tests.
Determining your asthma severity helps your doctor choose the best treatment. Asthma severity often changes over time, requiring treatment adjustments.
Asthma is classified into four general categories:
Asthma classification Signs and symptoms
Mild intermittent Mild symptoms up to two days a week and up to two nights a month
Mild persistent Symptoms more than twice a week, but no more than once in a single day
Moderate persistent Symptoms once a day and more than one night a week
Severe persistent Symptoms throughout the day on most days and frequently at night
More Information
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/asthma/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20369660

Resources:

Asthma: Treatment & Care – WebMD                                http://www.webmd.com/asthma/guide/asthma-treatment-care

Asthma – Management and Treatment | CDC https://www.cdc.gov/asthma/management.html

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

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ETH Zurich study: Antimicrobial resistance is drastically rising

22 Sep

The National Pesticide Information wrote in Antimicrobials: Topic Fact Sheet:

What are antimicrobials?
Antimicrobial products kill or slow the spread of microorganisms. Microorganisms include bacteria, viruses, protozoans, and fungi such as mold and mildew.1 You may find antimicrobial products in your home, workplace, or school.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates antimicrobial products as pesticides, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates antimicrobial products as drugs/antiseptics. As pesticides, antimicrobial products are used on objects such as countertops, toys, grocery carts, and hospital equipment. As antiseptics, antimicrobial products are used to treat or prevent diseases on people, pets, and other living things.
If a product shows “EPA” anywhere on the label, you know it’s a pesticide and NOT meant for use on the body. This fact sheet will focus on antimicrobials used as pesticides.
If a product label claims to kill, control, repel, mitigate or reduce a pest, it is a pesticide regulated by the U.S. EPA.2 When manufacturers make this kind of claim on the label, they must also include:
• application instructions that are effective at killing or controlling the pest, and
• first aid instructions, in case of accidental exposure.
What types of antimicrobial pesticides are there?
There are two general categories for antimicrobial pesticides: those that address microbes in public health settings, and those that do not. “Public health products” are designed to handle infectious microbes. See Table 1.
Table 1. Sites of application for antimicrobial pesticides1
Non-public health settings Public health settings
Microbes that may cause objects to spoil or rot Microbes that may cause people to get sick
• cooling towers
• fuel
• wood textiles
• paint
• paper products • bathrooms
• kitchens
• homes
• hospitals
• restaurants
There are three types of public health antimicrobials: sterilizers, disinfectants, and sanitizers. See Table 2.
Sanitizers are the weakest public-health antimicrobials. They reduce bacteria on surfaces.1 Some sanitizers may be used on food-contact surfaces such as countertops, cutting boards, or children’s high chairs. The label will indicate how a sanitizer can be used. Some sanitizers can be used only for non-food contact surfaces like toilet bowls and carpets, or air.5,6
Sterilizers are the strongest type of public health antimicrobial product. In addition to bacteria, algae, and fungi, they also control hard-to-kill spores.5 Many sterilizers are restricted-use pesticides. These require applicator training and certification. Sterilizers are used in medical and research settings when the presence of microbes must be prevented as much as possible. In addition to chemical sterilizers, high-pressure steam and ovens are also used to sterilize items.5
What do I need to know?
• Always follow the label directions. The “Directions for Use” are specific, and the product may not work if you don’t follow them.
• Never mix different antimicrobial products.
• Most antimicrobial products take time to work. Read the label to find out how long the product must remain in contact with the surface in order to sanitize, disinfect or sterilize it.10
• Dirt, food, slime, and other particles may reduce the effectiveness of antimicrobial products.10
• Take steps to reduce your exposure to antimicrobial pesticides. Some products can be harmful when touched or inhaled.
References:
1. What are Antimicrobial Pesticides?; U.S Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances, Office of Pesticide Programs, U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 2010.
2. Pesticide Registration and Classification Procedures, Protection of the Environment; Code of Federal Regulations, Part 152, Title 40, 2010.
3. Anthrax Spore Decontamination Using Bleach (Sodium hypochlorite); U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances, Office of Pesticide Programs. U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 2010.
4. Label Review Manual – Chapter 2: What is a Pesticide?; U.S Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances, Office of Pesticide Programs, U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 2006.
5. Antimicrobial Pesticide Products; U.S Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances, Office of Pesticide Programs, U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 2010.
6. Pesticide Labeling Questions & Answers; U.S Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances, Office of Pesticide Programs, U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, accessed Dec 2010. updated Dec 2010.
7. Antimicrobial Products Registered for Use Against the H1N1 Flu and Other Influenza A Viruses on Hard Surfaces; U.S Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances, Office of Pesticide Programs, U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 2010.
8. Selected EPA-registered Disinfectants; U.S Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances, Office of Pesticide Programs, U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 2010.
9. Gilbert, P.; McBain, A. J. Potential Impacts of Increased Use of Biocides in Consumer Products on Prevalence of Antibiotic Resistance. Clinical Microbiology Reviews, 16, 2, 189-208.
10. Rutala, W. A.; Weber, D. J. Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Health Care Facilities, 2008. U.S. Center for Disease Control, Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC). https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/pdf/guidelines/disinfection-guidelines.pdf (accessed Dec 2010), updated Dec 2010.
11. Sanitizer Test for Inanimate Surfaces; U.S Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances, Office of Pesticide Programs, U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 2010. http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/antimicrobials.html

There is growing alarm about antimicrobial resistance.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describe antimicrobial resistance in

About Antimicrobial Resistance:
Antibiotic resistance happens when germs like bacteria and fungi develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them. That means the germs are not killed and continue to grow.
Infections caused by antibiotic-resistant germs are difficult, and sometimes impossible, to treat. In most cases, antibiotic-resistant infections require extended hospital stays, additional follow-up doctor visits, and costly and toxic alternatives.
Antibiotic resistance does not mean the body is becoming resistant to antibiotics; it is that bacteria have become resistant to the antibiotics designed to kill them.
Antibiotic Resistance Threatens Everyone

Antibiotic resistance has the potential to affect people at any stage of life, as well as the healthcare, veterinary, and agriculture industries, making it one of the world’s most urgent public health problems.
Each year in the U.S., at least 2 million people are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and at least 23,000 people die as a result.
No one can completely avoid the risk of resistant infections, but some people are at greater risk than others (for example, people with chronic illnesses). If antibiotics lose their effectiveness, then we lose the ability to treat infections and control public health threats.
Many medical advances are dependent on the ability to fight infections using antibiotics, including joint replacements, organ transplants, cancer therapy, and treatment of chronic diseases like diabetes, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis…. https://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/about.html

ETH Zurich studied antimicrobial resistance.

Science Daily reported in Antimicrobial resistance is drastically rising:

The world is experiencing unprecedented economic growth in low- and middle-income countries. An increasing number of people in India, China, Latin America and Africa have become wealthier, and this is reflected in their consumption of meat and dairy products. In Africa, meat consumption has risen by more than half; in Asia and Latin America it is up by two-thirds.
To meet this growing demand, animal husbandry has been intensified, with among other things, an increased reliance on the use of antimicrobials. Farmers use antimicrobials to treat and prevent infections for animals raised in crowded conditions but these drugs are also used to increase weight gain, and thus improve profitability.
This excessive and indiscriminate use of antimicrobials has serious consequences: the proportion of bacteria resistant to antimicrobials is rapidly increasing around the world. Drugs are losing their efficacy, with important consequences for the health of animals but also potentially for humans.
Mapping resistance hotspots
Low- and middle income countries have limited surveillance capacities to track antimicrobial use and resistance on farms. Antimicrobial use is typically less regulated and documented there than in wealthy industrialized countries with established surveillance systems.
The team of researchers led by Thomas Van Boeckel, SNF Assistant Professor of Health Geography and Policy at ETH Zurich, has recently published a map of antimicrobial resistance in animals in low- and middle-income countries in the journal Science.
The team assembled a large literature database and found out where, and in which animals species resistance occurred for the common foodborne bacteria Salmonella, E. coli, Campylobacter and Staphylococcus.
According to this study, the regions associated with high rates of antimicrobial resistance in animals are northeast China, northeast India, southern Brazil, Iran and Turkey. In these countries, the bacteria listed above are now resistant to a large number of drug that are used not only in animals but also in human medicine. An important finding of the study is that so far, few resistance hotspots have emerged in Africa with the exception of Nigeria and the surroundings of Johannesburg.
The highest resistance rates were associated with the antimicrobials most frequently used in animals: tetracyclines, sulphonamides, penicillins and quinolones. In certain regions, these compounds have almost completely lost their efficacy to treat infections.
Alarming trend in multi-drug resistance
The researchers introduced a new index to track the evolution of resistance to multiple drugs: the proportion of drugs tested in each region with resistance rates higher than 50%. Globally, this index has almost tripled for chicken and pigs over the last 20 years. Currently, one third of drugs fail 50% of the time in chicken and one quarter of drug fail in 50% of the time in pigs.
“This alarming trend shows that the drugs used in animal farming are rapidly losing their efficacy,” Van Boeckel says. This will affect the sustainability of the animal industry and potentially the health of consumers.
It is of particular concern that antimicrobial resistance is rising in developing and emerging countries because this is where meat consumption is growing the fastest, while access to veterinary antimicrobials remains largely unregulated. “Antimicrobial resistance is a global problem. There is little point in making considerable efforts to reduce it on one side of the world if it is increasing dramatically on the other side,” the ETH researcher says…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190919142211.htm

Citation:

Antimicrobial resistance is drastically rising
Date: September 19, 2019
Source: ETH Zurich
Summary:
Researchers have shown that antimicrobial-resistant infections are rapidly increasing in animals in low and middle income countries. They produced the first global of resistance rates, and identified regions where interventions are urgently needed.
Journal Reference:
Thomas P. Van Boeckel, João Pires, Reshma Silvester, Cheng Zhao, Julia Song, Nicola G. Criscuolo, Marius Gilbert, Sebastian Bonhoeffer, Ramanan Laxminarayan. Global trends in antimicrobial resistance in animals in low- and middle-income countries. Science, 2019; 365 (6459): eaaw1944 DOI: 10.1126/science.aaw1944

Here is the press release from ETH Zurich:

Antimicrobial resistance is drastically rising
19.09.2019 | News
By: Peter Rüegg
An international team of researchers led by ETH has shown that antimicrobial-resistant infections are rapidly increasing in animals in low and middle income countries. They produced the first global of resistance rates, and identified regions where interventions are urgently needed.

The world is experiencing unprecedented economic growth in low- and middle-income countries. An increasing number of people in India, China, Latin America and Africa have become wealthier, and this is reflected in their consumption of meat and dairy products. In Africa, meat consumption has risen by more than half; in Asia and Latin America it is up by two-thirds.
To meet this growing demand, animal husbandry has been intensified, with among other things, an increased reliance on the use of antimicrobials. Farmers use antimicrobials to treat and prevent infections for animals raised in crowded conditions but these drugs are also used to increase weight gain, and thus improve profitability.
This excessive and indiscriminate use of antimicrobials has serious consequences: the proportion of bacteria resistant to antimicrobials is rapidly increasing around the world. Drugs are losing their efficacy, with important consequences for the health of animals but also potentially for humans.
Mapping resistance hotspots
Low- and middle income countries have limited surveillance capacities to track antimicrobial use and resistance on farms. Antimicrobial use is typically less regulated and documented there than in wealthy industrialized countries with established surveillance systems.
The team of researchers led by Thomas Van Boeckel, SNF Assistant Professor of Health Geography and Policy at ETH Zurich, has recently published a map of antimicrobial resistance in animals in low- and middle-income countries in the journal Science.
The team assembled a large literature database and found out where, and in which animals species resistance occurred for the common foodborne bacteria Salmonella, E. coli, Campylobacter and Staphylococcus.

According to this study, the regions associated with high rates of antimicrobial resistance in animals are northeast China, northeast India, southern Brazil, Iran and Turkey. In these countries, the bacteria listed above are now resistant to a large number of drug that are used not only in animals but also in human medicine. An important finding of the study is that so far, few resistance hotspots have emerged in Africa with the exception of Nigeria and the surroundings of Johannesburg.
The highest resistance rates were associated with the antimicrobials most frequently used in animals: tetracyclines, sulphonamides, penicillins and quinolones. In certain regions, these compounds have almost completely lost their efficacy to treat infections.
Alarming trend in multi-drug resistance
The researchers introduced a new index to track the evolution of resistance to multiple drugs: the proportion of drugs tested in each region with resistance rates higher than 50%. Globally, this index has almost tripled for chicken and pigs over the last 20 years. Currently, one third of drugs fail 50% of the time in chicken and one quarter of drug fail in 50% of the time in pigs.
“This alarming trend shows that the drugs used in animal farming are rapidly losing their efficacy,” Van Boeckel says. This will affect the sustainability of the animal industry and potentially the health of consumers.
It is of particular concern that antimicrobial resistance is rising in developing and emerging countries because this is where meat consumption is growing the fastest, while access to veterinary antimicrobials remains largely unregulated. “Antimicrobial resistance is a global problem. There is little point in making considerable efforts to reduce it on one side of the world if it is increasing dramatically on the other side,” the ETH researcher says.
Input from thousands of studies
For their current study, the team of researchers from ETH, Princeton University and the Free University of Brussels gathered thousands of publications as well as unpublished veterinary reports from around the world. The researchers used this database to produce the maps of antimicrobial resistance.
However, the maps do not cover the entire research area; there are large gaps in particular in South America, which researchers attribute to a lack of publicly available data. “There are hardly any official figures or data from large parts of South America,” says co-author and ETH postdoctoral fellow Joao Pires. He said this surprised him, as much more data is available from some African countries , despite resources for conducting surveys being more limited than in South America.
Open-access web platform
The team has created an open-access web platform resistancebank.org to share their findings and gather additional data on resistance in animals. For example, veterinarians and state-authorities can upload data on resistance in their region to the platform and share it with other people who are interested.
Van Boeckel hopes that scientists from countries with more limited resources for whom publishing cost in academic journal can be a barrier will be able to share their findings and get recognition for their work on the platform. “In this way, we can ensure that the data is not just stuffed away in a drawer” he says, “because there are many relevant findings lying dormant, especially in Africa or India, that would complete the global picture of resistance that we try to draw in this first assessment. The platform could also help donors to identify the regions most affected by resistance in order to be able to finance specific interventions.
As meat production continues to rise, the web platform could help target interventions against AMR and assist a transition to more sustainable farming practices in low- and middle-income countries. “The rich countries of the Global North, where antimicrobials have been used since the 1950s, should help make the transition a success,” says Van Boeckel.
The research was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Branco Weiss Fellowship.
Reference
Van Boeckel TP, Pires J, Silvester R, Zhao C , Song J, Criscuolo NG, Gilbert M, Bonhoeffer S, Laxminarayan R. Global trends in antimicrobial resistance in animals in low- and middle-income countries. Science 365, 2019, doi: 10.1126/science.aaw1944
Research|
International|
Agricultural sciences|
Sustainability|
World food system https://ethz.ch/en/news-and-events/eth-news/news/2019/09/antimicrobial-resistances-on-the-rise.html

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have a page devoted to prevention of antimicrobial resistance.

Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest public health challenges of our time. Each year in the U.S., at least 2 million people get an antibiotic-resistant infection, and at least 23,000 people die. Fighting this threat is a public health priority that requires a collaborative global approach across sectors. CDC is working to combat this threat. Find out how you can help.

About Antimicrobial Resistance
Food & Food Animals
Combat Resistance Globally
Biggest Threats & Data
Laboratory Testing & Resources
Latest News & Resources
Protect Yourself & Your Family
What CDC is Doing
AR Isolate Bank
Healthcare Providers
U.S. Action

https://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/index.html

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Washington State University study: Hand- versus machine-harvested juice and cider apples: A comparison of phenolic profiles

1 Sep

James Thorne wrote in the Geek Wire article, Apple-picking robots gear up for U.S. debut in Washington state:

Next fall, as you browse the produce section at your local grocery store, pay close attention to the apples. You might be witnessing American history.
For the first time, some of the apples sold in the U.S. will be picked by a robot rather than human hands. That’s thanks to agricultural automation startup Abundant Robotics, the maker of apple harvesting machines that will partake in Washington state’s next harvest.
“This will be the first season that we’re actually ready to harvest commercially,” said Abundant CEO Dan Steere. “It’s incredibly exciting.”
Abundant’s picker has more in common with a really smart Hoover vacuum than a human hand. The robot moves down rows of orchards and uses artificial intelligence with a dash of LIDAR to search for ripe apples. Once spotted, a robotic arm with a vacuum gently sucks the apples from the tree into a bin.
The achievement is owed to advances not only in machine learning and robotics but also in agriculture. The architecture of apple trees has evolved over the decades, and it’s now common to grow them on trellises like you would tomatoes or cucumbers. Modern apple trees are also smaller, derived from dwarf varietals that yield more per acre and produce fruit more quickly after being planted.
These horticultural leaps have allowed farmers to double their apple yields. They’ve also made the job of picking easier for humans and, now, for robots.
Karen Lewis, a tree fruit specialist at Washington State University who has worked with Abundant and other robotics startups, said that apple trees have reached a “sweet spot” for robotic harvesting. Orchards are now sufficiently uniform and predictable for machines to reliably pick fruit, and canopies are narrow enough for sunlight, the human eye and vision systems to penetrate.
Tech companies that are successful in agriculture, she said, are the ones that listen to what farmers need. “We’re not going to let technology be the driver here. Horticulture needs to be the driver.” https://www.geekwire.com/2019/apple-picking-robots-gear-u-s-debut-washington-state/

There are at least two issues regarding mechanical harvesting. The first is whether mechanical harvesting damages crops or results is lesser quality of the final product quality. The second is whether employment in agriculture will decline.

Science Daily reported in Hand- versus machine-harvested juice and cider apples: A comparison of phenolic profiles:

A study out of Washington State University sought to determine if there is a measurable impact of harvest method on the phenolic profile of ‘Brown Snout’ juice and cider to better inform equipment adoption.
Travis Alexander, Thomas Collins, and Carol Miles also evaluated whether different extraction methods would yield differing output in either quantity or quality of ‘Brown Snout’ apple juice and cider. Their comprehensive findings are illustrated in their article, “Comparison of the Phenolic Profiles of Juice and Cider Derived from Machine- and Hand-Harvested ‘Brown Snout’ Specialty Cider Apples in Northwest Washington” as found in the open-access journal HortTechnology, published by the American Society for Horticultural Science.
Phenolics are secondary metabolites that have attracted increasing interest in science and industry in recent years due to their beneficial health effects, primarily for their antioxidant properties. They have been proven to act as reducing agents to free radicals. Phenolics contribute significantly to the sensory profile of fermented cider, especially in those made from cider apple fruit. “Phenolics can impact the pressing of fruit, the clarification of juice, the maturation of cider, and final cider quality, including the attributes of aroma, color, taste, and mouthfeel. And so, we wanted to determine if there was a change in phenolics due to harvest method” stated Collins….’
To carry out their research, Miles said they planted a block of ‘Brown Snout’ apple trees on a low trellis system so that trees were a suitable size to fit the over-the-row small fruit harvester. Each of the eight main plots consisted of an average of nine trees. When the fruit was fully ripe, harvesting was divided equally between hand harvesting by four relatively unskilled agricultural workers and machine harvest by an over-the-row small fruit harvester. When application of the two harvest methods was complete, equal qualities of ‘Brown Snout’ apples were randomly selected from each yield supply for further evaluation.
The selected fruit were pressed separately and fermented and allowed to mature for 5 months before final assessments were conducted. At that time, the researchers determined that harvest method and duration of storage were nonsignificant for all parameters measured on juice and cider samples.
Over-the-row machine harvesting resulted in a final product of similar quality at reduced labor costs, and thus shows potential for increasing the commercial sustainability of cider apple operations.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190830162305.htm

Citation:

Hand- versus machine-harvested juice and cider apples: A comparison of phenolic profiles
Machine-harvested apples offer cost-effective option for growers and cider makers
Date: August 30, 2019
Source: American Society for Horticultural Science
Summary:
Study conducted to determine if there is a measurable impact of harvest method on the phenolic profile of ‘Brown Snout’ juice and cider to better inform equipment adoption. Over-the-row machine harvesting resulted in a final product of similar quality at reduced labor costs, and thus shows potential for increasing the commercial sustainability of cider apple operations.

Journal Reference:
Travis R. Alexander, Thomas S. Collins, Carol A. Miles. Comparison of the Phenolic Profiles of Juice and Cider Derived from Machine- and Hand-harvested ‘Brown Snout’ Specialty Cider Apples in Northwest Washington. HortTechnology, 2019; 29 (4): 423 DOI: 10.21273/HORTTECH04342-19

Here is the press release from American Society for Horticultural Science:

NEWS RELEASE 30-AUG-2019
Hand- versus machine-harvested juice and cider apples: A comparison of phenolic profiles
Machine-harvested apples offer cost-effective option for growers and cider makers
AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR HORTICULTURAL SCIENCE
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MOUNT VERNON, WASHINGTON–Hand-harvested versus Machine-harvested Juice and Cider Apples: A Comparison of Phenolic Profiles
A study out of Washington State University sought to determine if there is a measurable impact of harvest method on the phenolic profile of ‘Brown Snout’ juice and cider to better inform equipment adoption.
Travis Alexander, Thomas Collins, and Carol Miles also evaluated whether different extraction methods would yield differing output in either quantity or quality of ‘Brown Snout’ apple juice and cider. Their comprehensive findings are illustrated in their article, “Comparison of the Phenolic Profiles of Juice and Cider Derived from Machine- and Hand-Harvested ‘Brown Snout’ Specialty Cider Apples in Northwest Washington” as found in the open-access journal HortTechnology, published by the American Society for Horticultural Science.
Phenolics are secondary metabolites that have attracted increasing interest in science and industry in recent years due to their beneficial health effects, primarily for their antioxidant properties. They have been proven to act as reducing agents to free radicals. Phenolics contribute significantly to the sensory profile of fermented cider, especially in those made from cider apple fruit. “Phenolics can impact the pressing of fruit, the clarification of juice, the maturation of cider, and final cider quality, including the attributes of aroma, color, taste, and mouthfeel. And so, we wanted to determine if there was a change in phenolics due to harvest method” stated Collins.
“The ‘Brown Snout’ specialty cider apple is desired by cider makers for its relatively high levels of phenolics, and over-the-row machine harvesting of ‘Brown Snout’ has been demonstrated to provide similar yield to hand harvest at a significantly lower cost” says Alexander.
To carry out their research, Miles said they planted a block of ‘Brown Snout’ apple trees on a low trellis system so that trees were a suitable size to fit the over-the-row small fruit harvester. Each of the eight main plots consisted of an average of nine trees. When the fruit was fully ripe, harvesting was divided equally between hand harvesting by four relatively unskilled agricultural workers and machine harvest by an over-the-row small fruit harvester. When application of the two harvest methods was complete, equal qualities of ‘Brown Snout’ apples were randomly selected from each yield supply for further evaluation.
The selected fruit were pressed separately and fermented and allowed to mature for 5 months before final assessments were conducted. At that time, the researchers determined that harvest method and duration of storage were nonsignificant for all parameters measured on juice and cider samples.
Over-the-row machine harvesting resulted in a final product of similar quality at reduced labor costs, and thus shows potential for increasing the commercial sustainability of cider apple operations.
###
The complete article is available on the ASHS HortTechnology electronic journal web site: https://journals.ashs.org/horttech/view/journals/horttech/29/4/article-p423.xml. DOI: https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTTECH04342-19 . Or you may contact Travis Alexander of Washington State University at travis.alexander@wsu.edu or call him at (360) 848-6120.
Founded in 1903, the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) is the largest organization dedicated to advancing all facets of horticulture research, education, and application. More information at ashs.org.
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.
David Meyer wrote in the Fortune article, Robots May Steal As Many As 800 Million Jobs in the Next 13 Years:
A new study by the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that between 400 million and 800 million of today’s jobs will be automated by 2030.
The research adds fresh perspective to what is becoming an increasingly concerning picture of the future employment landscape. “We’re all going to have to change and learn how to do new things over time,” institute partner Michael Chui told Bloomberg.
In the U.S., it seems it’s the middle class that has the most to fear, with office administrators and construction equipment operators among those who may lose their jobs to technology or see their wages depressed to keep them competitive with robots and automated systems…. https://fortune.com/2017/11/29/robots-automation-replace-jobs-mckinsey-report-800-million/

 

Think not of yourself as the architect of your career but as the sculptor. Expect to have to do a lot of hard hammering and chiseling and scraping and polishing.-
B.C. Forbes

Resources:

In Praise of Short-Term Thinking
For hundreds of years, economic observers have feared that machines were making human workers obsolete. In a sense, they’ve been right. https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/09/jobs-automation-technological-unemployment-history/403576/

Will robots and AI take your job? The economic and political consequences of automation                                               https://www.brookings.edu/blog/techtank/2018/04/18/will-robots-and-ai-take-your-job-the-economic-and-political-consequences-of-automation/

Will machines eventually take on every job?              http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150805-will-machines-eventually-take-on-every-job

Every study we could find on what automation will do to jobs, in one chart: There are about as many opinions as there are experts. https://www.technologyreview.com/s/610005/every-study-we-could-find-on-what-automation-will-do-to-jobs-in-one-chart/

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