micdotcom

micdotcom:

Potent minimalist art sends a strong message about police and vigilante brutality in America

Journalist and artist Shirin Barghi has created a gripping, thought-provoking series of graphics that not only examines racial prejudice in today’s America, but also captures the sense of humanity that often gets lost in news coverage. Titled “Last Words,” the graphics illustrate the last recorded words by Brown and other young black people — Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant and others — who have been killed by police in recent years.

Let us not forget their voices

scinerds
We criticize dictators for quelling dissent and silencing protestors with tactics like curfews, we’ll certainly speak out when it’s happening in our own backyard," he said. "The people of Ferguson have the right to protest peacefully the lack of accountability for Michael Brown’s shooting.
Amnesty International sending team to Ferguson. First time it’s deployed inside the US. (via soulsinsolidarity)
pubhealth
nprglobalhealth:

How A Dissolvable ‘Tampon’ Could One Day Help Women Stop HIV
When it comes to protecting themselves from HIV, women need more options.
About 84 percent of all women diagnosed with HIV contract the virus through heterosexual sex. And right now, the female condom is the only contraception available that stops HIV — and is controlled by the woman. These devices can be hard to find and tough to use.
Now engineers at the University of Washington in Seattle have come up with an experimental technologythat may one day make HIV protection for women as easy as using a tampon.
For years, scientists have been developing gels or creams that contain anti-HIV drugs known as microbicides. But these topical ointments can be problematic. They’re messy to apply. They can leak. And the medication absorbs slowly, so women have to use the gels or creams at least 20 minutes before sex.
A new delivery method could solve all these problems, say bioengineers Cameron Ball and Kim Woodrow. The secret? An electrically spun fabric.
Continue reading.
Photo: Better than Egyptian cotton: This electrically spun fabric contains anti-HIV drugs and dissolves rapidly when it gets wet. (Courtesy of University of Washington)

nprglobalhealth:

How A Dissolvable ‘Tampon’ Could One Day Help Women Stop HIV

When it comes to protecting themselves from HIV, women need more options.

About 84 percent of all women diagnosed with HIV contract the virus through heterosexual sex. And right now, the female condom is the only contraception available that stops HIV — and is controlled by the woman. These devices can be hard to find and tough to use.

Now engineers at the University of Washington in Seattle have come up with an experimental technologythat may one day make HIV protection for women as easy as using a tampon.

For years, scientists have been developing gels or creams that contain anti-HIV drugs known as microbicides. But these topical ointments can be problematic. They’re messy to apply. They can leak. And the medication absorbs slowly, so women have to use the gels or creams at least 20 minutes before sex.

A new delivery method could solve all these problems, say bioengineers Cameron Ball and Kim Woodrow. The secret? An electrically spun fabric.

Continue reading.

Photo: Better than Egyptian cotton: This electrically spun fabric contains anti-HIV drugs and dissolves rapidly when it gets wet. (Courtesy of University of Washington)

neurosciencestuff
neurosciencestuff:

Researchers develop strategy to combat genetic ALS, FTD
A team of researchers at Mayo Clinic and The Scripps Research Institute in Florida have developed a new therapeutic strategy to combat the most common genetic risk factor for the neurodegenerative disorders amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). In the Aug. 14 issue of Neuron, they also report discovery of a potential biomarker to track disease progression and the efficacy of therapies.
The scientists developed a small-molecule drug compound to prevent abnormal cellular processes caused by a mutation in the C9ORF72 gene. The findings come on the heels of previous discoveries by Mayo investigators that the C9ORF72 mutation produces an unusual repetitive genetic sequence that causes the buildup of abnormal RNA in brain cells and spinal cord.
While toxic protein clumps have long been implicated in neurodegeneration, this new strategy takes aim at abnormal RNA, which forms before toxic proteins in C9ORF72-related disorders (c9FTD/ALS). “Our study shows that toxic RNA produced in people with the c9FTD/ALS mutation is indeed a viable drug target,” says the study’s co-senior investigator, Leonard Petrucelli, Ph.D., a molecular neuroscientist at Mayo Clinic in Florida.
The compound, which was tested in cell culture models of c9FTD/ALS, bound to and blocked RNA’s ability to interact with other key proteins, thereby preventing the formation of toxic RNA clumps and “c9RAN proteins” that results from a process called repeat-associated non-ATG (RAN) translation.
The researchers also discovered that c9RAN proteins produced by the abnormal RNA can be measured in the spinal fluid of ALS patients. They are now evaluating whether these proteins are also present in spinal fluid of patients diagnosed with FTD. Although ALS primarily affects motor neurons leading to impaired mobility, speech, swallowing, and respiratory function and FTD affects brain regions that support higher cognitive function, some patients have symptoms of both disorders.
“Development of a readily accessible biomarker for the c9FTD/ALS mutation may aid not only diagnosis of these disorders and allow for tracking disease course in patients, but it could provide a more direct way to evaluate the response to experimental treatments,” says co-author Kevin Boylan, M.D., medical director of the Mayo Jacksonville ALS Center, the only ALS Certified Center of Excellence in Florida.
For example, a decrease in the levels of c9RAN proteins in response to treatment would suggest that a drug is having a desired effect. “The potential of this biomarker discovery is very exciting — even if we are in early days of development of such a test,” he says.
Since ALS is usually fatal two to five years after diagnosis and there is currently no effective treatment for FTD, these landmark findings offer the possibility of both improved diagnosis and treatment for up to 40 percent of all patients with familial (inherited) ALS and up to 25 percent of patients with familial FTD, says Dr. Boylan.
“One of the most exciting aspects of these studies has, in my opinion, been the seamless collaboration of our Florida biosciences institutes — Scripps and Mayo. Our collective biological and chemical expertise made this research possible,” says the other co-senior investigator, Mathew Disney, Ph.D., a professor of chemistry at Scripps Florida.
Dr. Disney and his group studied the structure of the RNA that resulted from the C9ORF72 mutation, and then designed the lead small-molecules. The Mayo team developed the patient-derived cell models to test the compounds in. Both teams then worked together to show that the lead agent’s mode of action was targeting the toxic RNA.

neurosciencestuff:

Researchers develop strategy to combat genetic ALS, FTD

A team of researchers at Mayo Clinic and The Scripps Research Institute in Florida have developed a new therapeutic strategy to combat the most common genetic risk factor for the neurodegenerative disorders amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). In the Aug. 14 issue of Neuron, they also report discovery of a potential biomarker to track disease progression and the efficacy of therapies.

The scientists developed a small-molecule drug compound to prevent abnormal cellular processes caused by a mutation in the C9ORF72 gene. The findings come on the heels of previous discoveries by Mayo investigators that the C9ORF72 mutation produces an unusual repetitive genetic sequence that causes the buildup of abnormal RNA in brain cells and spinal cord.

While toxic protein clumps have long been implicated in neurodegeneration, this new strategy takes aim at abnormal RNA, which forms before toxic proteins in C9ORF72-related disorders (c9FTD/ALS). “Our study shows that toxic RNA produced in people with the c9FTD/ALS mutation is indeed a viable drug target,” says the study’s co-senior investigator, Leonard Petrucelli, Ph.D., a molecular neuroscientist at Mayo Clinic in Florida.

The compound, which was tested in cell culture models of c9FTD/ALS, bound to and blocked RNA’s ability to interact with other key proteins, thereby preventing the formation of toxic RNA clumps and “c9RAN proteins” that results from a process called repeat-associated non-ATG (RAN) translation.

The researchers also discovered that c9RAN proteins produced by the abnormal RNA can be measured in the spinal fluid of ALS patients. They are now evaluating whether these proteins are also present in spinal fluid of patients diagnosed with FTD. Although ALS primarily affects motor neurons leading to impaired mobility, speech, swallowing, and respiratory function and FTD affects brain regions that support higher cognitive function, some patients have symptoms of both disorders.

“Development of a readily accessible biomarker for the c9FTD/ALS mutation may aid not only diagnosis of these disorders and allow for tracking disease course in patients, but it could provide a more direct way to evaluate the response to experimental treatments,” says co-author Kevin Boylan, M.D., medical director of the Mayo Jacksonville ALS Center, the only ALS Certified Center of Excellence in Florida.

For example, a decrease in the levels of c9RAN proteins in response to treatment would suggest that a drug is having a desired effect. “The potential of this biomarker discovery is very exciting — even if we are in early days of development of such a test,” he says.

Since ALS is usually fatal two to five years after diagnosis and there is currently no effective treatment for FTD, these landmark findings offer the possibility of both improved diagnosis and treatment for up to 40 percent of all patients with familial (inherited) ALS and up to 25 percent of patients with familial FTD, says Dr. Boylan.

“One of the most exciting aspects of these studies has, in my opinion, been the seamless collaboration of our Florida biosciences institutes — Scripps and Mayo. Our collective biological and chemical expertise made this research possible,” says the other co-senior investigator, Mathew Disney, Ph.D., a professor of chemistry at Scripps Florida.

Dr. Disney and his group studied the structure of the RNA that resulted from the C9ORF72 mutation, and then designed the lead small-molecules. The Mayo team developed the patient-derived cell models to test the compounds in. Both teams then worked together to show that the lead agent’s mode of action was targeting the toxic RNA.