Category Archives: News

International Lectures: Former British Prime Minister Theresa May (Oxford Union Video)

May served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2016 to 2019. Assuming office following the 2016 Brexit referendum, she was tasked with one of the most intractable challenges of any post-war Prime Minister, and successfully negotiated a withdrawal deal with the EU in late 2018. Beyond Brexit, May reversed course on the Conservative government’s controversial programme of austerity, delivering the largest single cash-boost to the NHS in its history, and championed human rights and social justice initiatives, such as ending modern slavery.

The Benazir Bhutto Memorial Lecture was established to honour the life and legacy of Benazir Bhutto, the first female leader of a majority-Muslim country, and a former President of the Oxford Union.

ABOUT THE OXFORD UNION SOCIETY: The Oxford Union is the world’s most prestigious debating society, with an unparalleled reputation for bringing international guests and speakers to Oxford. Since 1823, the Union has been promoting debate and discussion not just in Oxford University, but across the globe.

Politics: Mark Shields & David Brooks On The Latest In Washington (PBS)

Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week’s political news, including the opening of President Trump’s Senate trial and the announcement of his legal team, public opinion on impeachment, 2020 Democrats’ final debate before the Iowa caucuses and Michael Bloomberg’s remarkable ad spend.

Digital Medicine: Apps For Smartphones, Machine Learning To Treat Kidney Disease (The Lancet)

From a The Lancet online article (January 18, 2020):

The Lancet logoSmartphone app-based platforms for urine testing could improve adherence to albumin creatinine ratio (ACR) testing. One study showed screening of at-risk patients almost doubled with a home urine test kit that uses a smartphone camera to easily and accurately quantify ACR from a user-performed urine dipstick. If independently validated in a large, diverse population, this low-cost strategy could change the often dim trajectory for individuals with declining kidney function. Chronic Kidney Disease A Global Crisis Siemens Healthineers

In the outpatient setting, a Japanese team used machine learning and natural language processing to predict disease progression and need for dialysis over 6 months in patients with diabetic nephropathy. And while the increased risk of contrast-induced acute kidney injury has been long appreciated, a machine learning algorithm trained and tested on 3 million adults effectively quantified the degree of kidney injury on the basis of the volume of contrast used and individual patient-level characteristics.

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Interview: James Bond 007 Series Producers Barbara Broccoli, 59 And Michael G. Wilson, 77 (Variety UK)

From a Variety.com online interview (January 17, 2020):

Variety The U.K. Issue Family Bond 007 magazine cover January 2020“He brought flesh and blood to the character,” she says. “Bond in the novel is a silhouette. Daniel has given him depth and an inner life. We were looking for a 21st-century hero, and that’s what he delivered. He bleeds; he cries; he’s very contemporary.”

(On Daniel Craig)

“For better or worse, we are the custodians of this character,” says Barbara Broccoli, who oversees the franchise with her half-brother Michael G. Wilson. “We take that responsibility seriously.”

Eon Productions James Bond 007 Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli

It’s an arrangement that was first hammered out by Broccoli’s father, the producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli, when John F. Kennedy was president and the Twist was all the rage. Miraculously, that pact has prevailed through the decades and generations, enduring everything from corporate mergers and bankruptcies to shifting consumer tastes and geopolitical upheavals. The elder Broccoli died in 1996. but not before ceding control to his two children with the 1995 release of “GoldenEye,” a film that proved a sexist superspy, conceived by novelist Ian Fleming in the 1950s, still had a role to play in post-Cold War cinema.

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Top New Science Podcasts: Lack Of Clinical Trial Reporting, Gut Microbe Links To Chronic Disease

Science Magazine PodcastsThough a law requiring clinical trial results reporting has been on the books for decades, many researchers have been slow to comply. Now, 2 years after the law was sharpened with higher penalties for noncompliance, investigative correspondent Charles Piller took a look at the results. He talks with host Sarah Crespi about the investigation and a surprising lack of compliance and enforcement.

Also this week, Sarah talks with Brett Finlay, a microbiologist at the University Of British Columbia, Vancouver, about an Insight in this week’s issue that aims to connect the dots between noncommunicable diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer and the microbes that live in our guts. Could these diseases actually spread through our microbiomes?

Study: “Probiotic Drink” Developed That Thwarts Antibiotic Resistance

From a Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News online article:

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News logo“We were able to show that if you can stop the plasmid from replicating, then most of the bacteria lose the plasmid as the bacteria grow and divide. This means that infections that might otherwise be hard to control, even with the most powerful antibiotics available, are more likely to be treatable with standard antibiotics.”

journal.pone.0225202.g001
Fig 1. Anticipated exploitation of pCURE as a probiotic treatment for at-risk individuals. Before treatment, plasmids carrying antibiotic resistance genes are shown as purple circles. After treatment, target plasmids are replaced by pCURE (green circle) which could be engineered to later “self-destruct”. Note that not all gut bacteria carry resistance plasmids but pCURE can enter all Enterobacteriaceae as well as other bacteria. Reduced resistance levels in the gut decrease the chance of treatment failure when infections elsewhere in the body (eg lungs or urinary tract) arise from gut bacteria.

 

Researchers headed by a team at the University of Birmingham in the U.K. have developed a probiotic drink containing genetic elements that are designed to thwart antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in gut bacteria at the genetic level. The drink targets small DNA elements called plasmids that carry antibiotic resistance genes, and which are able to replicate independently and spread between bacteria. By preventing these plasmids from replicating, the antibiotic resistance genes are displaced, effectively resensitizing the bacteria to antibiotics.

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Top Science Podcasts: Orbiting A Black Hole, Parrots And Online Media Consumption (Nature)

Nature PodcastsListen to the latest from the world of science, brought to you by Benjamin Thompson and Nick Howe. This week, observations of objects orbiting a black hole, and rethinking how we measure screen-time.

In this episode:

00:45 Observing the centre of the galaxy

Researchers have uncovered a population of dust-enshrouded objects orbiting the supermassive black hole at the centre of the galaxy. Research Article: Ciurlo et al.

06:34 Research Highlights

A London landmark’s height lends itself to a physics experiment, and generous behaviour in parrots. Research Highlight: An iconic structure in London moonlights as a scientific toolResearch Highlight: Parrots give each other gifts without promise of reward

09:00 The human ‘screenome’ project

To understand the effects of online media consumption, researchers argue that the way it’s measured needs to change. Comment: Time for the Human Screenome Project

17:26 News Chat

A decline in human body temperature, and a new report on research culture. News: Not so hot: US data suggests human bodies are cooling downNews: Stressful, aggressive, damaging: huge survey reveals pressures of scientists’ working lives