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Archive for the ‘Female Genetics’ Category

Saudi women making their mark in science – Arab News

JEDDAH: Just 30 percent of women worldwide work in science, but Saudis are challenging this long-standing trend.Women represent 58 percent of university students in Saudi Arabia, with many studying in science, technology and engineering and furthering their careers with studies overseas.In a report by the Saudi Education Ministry, women outnumbered men in graduating with a bachelors in biology, information technology, mathematics, statistics, and physics.Universities and research centers have adopted measures to support the inclusion of female scientists.Ambitious, driven and facing challenges along the way to their success, here are the Saudi women scientists who have made a mark in the field for their extraordinary work.Suha KayumResearch engineerWith a career spanning 10 years, Kayum a research engineer with Saudi Aramcos EXPEC Advanced Research Center was tasked with accelerating the evolution of software algorithms to enhance Aramcos reservoir simulator, which helped the company cut costs.Kayum was a developer for the companys in-house basin and seismic simulators. In 2016, she designed and received a patent for an algorithm that enabled the first 1-billion cell basin simulation run.

Dr. Elaf AhmedLab scientistWith a keen research interest in nano-organisms, Ahmeds main focus while conducting postdoctoral work at King Abdullah University for Science and Technology was synthesis of environmental nano materials using electrochemically active biofilms.She later joined the companys Oil and Gas Treatment Division at Aramcos Research and Development Center.Her main focus at the division is to conduct research projects for water treatment technologies and find new ways to treat water found in oil and gas reservoirs.

Dr. Ilham AbuljadayelImmunologistIn what could be one of the most profound achievements by a Saudi scientist, Dr. Ilham discovered the process of retrodifferentiation, a method also known as retrograde differentiation that treats blood diseases.A common process for the maintenance of cell integrity against damaging agents, Dr. Ilham applied her findings in the first preclinical study in 2000 in collaboration with George Washington Medical Center, US, in two animal models of human diseases to study the utility of retrodifferentiated stem cells.Her research has helped treat 390 patients with diseases ranging from sickle cell anaemia, multiple sclerosis, thalassaemia, and hepatitis C among others.Dr. Abeer Al-OlayanPetroleum scientistWith an academic and industrial background in various fields of chemistry spanning over 20 years, Dr. Abeer is a research scientist at Saudi Aramcos EXPEC Advanced Research Center and is responsible for leading its chemicals development initiative.As a fellow at MIT, she submitted a fellowship research abstract that focuses on reducing dependency on food-based chemicals to tackle drilling and subsurface challenges. She has 10 registered patents with the US Patent Office for the development of methods, materials and compositions in drilling and fluid transfer.

Dr. Malak Abed AlthagafiPhysician-scientistDiagnosed with a rare genetic disease at a young age, Althagafi got a first glimpse of what her future could be during her treatment. Her educational path started with the study of genetic diseases in children and led to molecular pathology before she focused on surgical oncology, molecular genetics and neuropathology.Dr. Malak is one of the few American board-certified molecular neuropathologists in the world and has conducted research that focuses on decoding genetic mutations in tumors, specifically brain tumors in children.She became part of the Saudi Human Genome Program in 2014. Her clinical and research interests are mainly in surgical oncology, pathology, molecular genetics pathology and neuropathology, especially its application for treating brain cancers.

Dr. Hind Al-JohaniScientist of physical chemistryHer research interest is in nano-catalysis. In 2017, this Saudi scientist discovered that by using the simple molecule of citrate ions (from citric acid) you could stabilize and control the structure of gold nanoparticles.Using this new discovery, the findings showed that gold can carry drugs through the body without chemical side effects. Attaching antibodies can guide the nanoparticles to specific cells that need treatment. Her findings have had an impact on environmental chemistry where it may also be used for water purification or methods for capturing CO2 emissions.

Dr. Nouf Al-NumairMolecular bioinformatics scientistDubbed the DNA decoder, her research focuses on predicting the early emergence of diseases through genetic mutations.She has achieved this by merging molecular genetics and computer programming to predict the effects of mutations and provide patients with a personalized medical approach to treatment.Using more than seven programming languages to analyze human genes, she has successfully published a number of papers with the findings.Dr. Nouf pursued her career in STEM and is the first Saudi scientist to major in molecular genetics and programming biological information.

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Saudi women making their mark in science - Arab News

Cannabis Genetics: Study Reveals Genes Related To Sex Modification In Feminized Plants – Benzinga

This article by Camila Ferezin was originally published onThe Green Fund, and appears here with permission.

Cannabis sativaL. (hemp, marijuana) produces male and female inflorescences on different plants that produceunisexual flowers.

In commercial production, marijuana plants are all genetically feminized, as female plants accumulate far larger amounts of several cannabinoids in thetrichomes than male plants, which are often removed or killed. Moreover, the presence of male plants among females often leads to the fecundation of female plants; a fecundated female plant will lead to seed formation, reducing flower quality (as they become hermaphrodites) and buds/cannabinoids yield.

Both genetics and environment play a role in the determination of the sex of a cannabis plant. Many growers focus on the growing conditions to ensure that hermaphroditism (when you have both male and female flowers on the same plant) does not take place, but genetics play just asimportant a role.

Scientists have already identified whichgenes are responsible for flowerformation and sex development in other plants in the past.

For instance, loss or gain of function of those genes, due to environmental conditions or genetic manipulation, can have deleterious effects, including elimination (when the plant doesn't develop any flower) or conversion of floral parts (changes from female to male plants, for example).

As previously mentioned, sex determination in the cannabis flower is controlled primarily at the genetic level. Therefore,mappingthe genes responsible for sex differentiation and understanding the molecular basis of male flower development in cannabis is extremely interesting in a marketing perspective.

Male flower poses a problem for farmers growing drug-type female plants for cannabinoids since male flowers have fewer trichomes and lead to limited amounts of cannabinoids.

Nowadays, the rapidly growinghempfarming industry requires sex determination genetics for seed and fibre quality, as even feminized seeds can develop male flowers due to environmental conditions and mutations in the plant's DNA.

In this study, headed by Soheil S. Mahmoud from The University of British Columbia, feminized plants were treated with silver thiosulfate (Ag2S2O3) complex, a chemical compound capable to induce masculinizing effects and development of male flowers in female plants, and employed a comparative RNA-Seq study (a technique that can examine the quantity and sequences ofRNA, and analyzes the gene of the plant) to identify who are the genes involved in sex modification and flower development.

The investigation highlighted a number of genes with potential roles in floral development and sex determination.

Among these are genes involved in flower development, and plant hormone signalling.

The results suggest that stamen (the pollen-producing part of aflower, usually with a slender filament supporting theanther) development in female cannabis plants can be associated with complex networking of diverse genes involved in floral development, phytohormone signalling, sugar/lipid metabolism and other sex-related pathways.

Although the exact roles of these genes must be further investigated in plants, this study could be useful for the understanding of a plant's predisposition to produce opposite sex flowers and help growers to regulate this trait depending on the purpose of the cropping.

Moreover, this could be one step forward into specifically genetic modified cannabis, in order to manipulate certain features of the plant, such as increasing the percentage of female flowers, complete deletion of male flowers and enhanced trichome production per plant.

But the amazing word ofCannabis Genetic Modificationdoes not stop there, and we may face a steep growth on the field, leading to the development of Cannabis plants that arepest resistant, drought resistance, improved yieldsand withselective phenotypes.

Studies such as this not only produce outstanding knowledge about the plant biology but also creates amazing market opportunities for those seeking for specific traits in their cropping production.

Read the original Article onThe Green Fund.

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Cannabis Genetics: Study Reveals Genes Related To Sex Modification In Feminized Plants - Benzinga

Biden picks geneticist as science adviser, puts in Cabinet – The Associated Press

President-elect Joe Biden announced Friday that he has chosen a pioneer in mapping the human genome the so-called book of life to be his chief science adviser and is elevating the top science job to a Cabinet position.

Biden nominated Eric Lander, founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, who was the lead author of the first paper announcing the details of the human genome, as director of Office of Science and Technology Policy and adviser on science. He is the first life scientist to have that job. His predecessor is a meteorologist.

Saying science will always be at the forefront of my administration, Biden said he is boosting the science advisor post to Cabinet level, a first in White House history.

The president-elect also said he is retaining National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins, who worked with Lander on the human genome project, and named two prominent female scientists to co-chair the Presidents Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Frances Arnold, a California Institute of Technology chemical engineer who won the 2018 Nobel Prize in chemistry, and MIT vice president for research and geophysics professor Maria Zuber will co-chair the outside science advisory council. Lander held that position during Obama administration.

Collins, in an email statement, called Lander brilliant, visionary, exceptionally creative and highly effective in aspiring others.

I predict he will have a profound transformational effect on American science, Collins said.

The job as director of science and technology policy requires Senate confirmation.

Science organizations were also quick to praise Lander and the promotion of the science post.

Elevating (the science adviser) role to member in the Presidents Cabinet clearly signals the administrations intent to involve scientific expertise in every policy discussion, said Sudip Parikh, chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the worlds largest general scientific society.

Biden chose Princetons Alondra Nelson, a social scientist who studies science, technology and social inequality, as deputy science policy chief.

Lander, also a mathematician, is a professor of biology at both Harvard and MIT and his work has been cited nearly half a million times in scientific literature, one of most among scientists. He has won numerous science prizes, including a MacArthur genius fellowship and a Breakthrough Prize, and is one of Pope Francis scientific advisors.

Lander has said in talks that an opportunity to explain science is his Achilles heel: I love teaching and more than that, I firmly believe that no matter what I do in my own scientific career, the most important impact that I could ever have on the world is going to be through my students.

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Biden picks geneticist as science adviser, puts in Cabinet - The Associated Press

Challenging The World! Meet The Saudi Women Scientists – Al-Bawaba

Just 30 percent of women worldwide work in science, but Saudis are challenging this long-standing trend.

Women represent 58 percent of university students in Saudi Arabia, with many studying in science, technology and engineering and furthering their careers with studies overseas.

In a report by the Saudi Education Ministry, women outnumbered men in graduating with a bachelors in biology, information technology, mathematics, statistics, and physics.

Universities and research centers have adopted measures to support the inclusion of female scientists.

Ambitious, driven and facing challenges along the way to their success, here are the Saudi women scientists who have made a mark in the field for their extraordinary work.

Suha KayumResearch engineer

With a career spanning 10 years, Kayum a research engineer with Saudi Aramcos EXPEC Advanced Research Center was tasked with accelerating the evolution of software algorithms to enhance Aramcos reservoir simulator, which helped the company cut costs.

Kayum was a developer for the companys in-house basin and seismic simulators. In 2016, she designed and received a patent for an algorithm that enabled the first 1-billion cell basin simulation run.

Dr. Elaf AhmedLab scientist

With a keen research interest in nano-organisms, Ahmeds main focus while conducting postdoctoral work at King Abdullah University for Science and Technology was synthesis of environmental nano materials using electrochemically active biofilms.

She later joined the companys Oil and Gas Treatment Division at Aramcos Research and Development Center.

Her main focus at the division is to conduct research projects for water treatment technologies and find new ways to treat water found in oil and gas reservoirs.

Dr. Ilham AbuljadayelImmunologist

In what could be one of the most profound achievements by a Saudi scientist, Dr. Ilham discovered the process of retrodifferentiation, a method also known as retrograde differentiation that treats blood diseases.

A common process for the maintenance of cell integrity against damaging agents, Dr. Ilham applied her findings in the first preclinical study in 2000 in collaboration with George Washington Medical Center, US, in two animal models of human diseases to study the utility of retrodifferentiated stem cells.

Her research has helped treat 390 patients with diseases ranging from sickle cell anaemia, multiple sclerosis, thalassaemia, and hepatitis C among others.

Dr. Abeer Al-OlayanPetroleum scientist

With an academic and industrial background in various fields of chemistry spanning over 20 years, Dr. Abeer is a research scientist at Saudi Aramcos EXPEC Advanced Research Center and is responsible for leading its chemicals development initiative.

As a fellow at MIT, she submitted a fellowship research abstract that focuses on reducing dependency on food-based chemicals to tackle drilling and subsurface challenges. She has 10 registered patents with the US Patent Office for the development of methods, materials and compositions in drilling and fluid transfer.

Dr. Malak Abed AlthagafiPhysician-scientist

Diagnosed with a rare genetic disease at a young age, Althagafi got a first glimpse of what her future could be during her treatment. Her educational path started with the study of genetic diseases in children and led to molecular pathology before she focused on surgical oncology, molecular genetics and neuropathology.

Dr. Malak is one of the few American board-certified molecular neuropathologists in the world and has conducted research that focuses on decoding genetic mutations in tumors, specifically brain tumors in children.

She became part of the Saudi Human Genome Program in 2014. Her clinical and research interests are mainly in surgical oncology, pathology, molecular genetics pathology and neuropathology, especially its application for treating brain cancers.

Dr. Hind Al-JohaniScientist of physical chemistry

Her research interest is in nano-catalysis. In 2017, this Saudi scientist discovered that by using the simple molecule of citrate ions (from citric acid) you could stabilize and control the structure of gold nanoparticles.

Using this new discovery, the findings showed that gold can carry drugs through the body without chemical side effects. Attaching antibodies can guide the nanoparticles to specific cells that need treatment. Her findings have had an impact on environmental chemistry where it may also be used for water purification or methods for capturing CO2 emissions.

Dr. Nouf Al-NumairMolecular bioinformatics scientist

Dubbed the DNA decoder, her research focuses on predicting the early emergence of diseases through genetic mutations.

She has achieved this by merging molecular genetics and computer programming to predict the effects of mutations and provide patients with a personalized medical approach to treatment.

Using more than seven programming languages to analyze human genes, she has successfully published a number of papers with the findings.

Dr. Nouf pursued her career in STEM and is the first Saudi scientist to major in molecular genetics and programming biological information.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

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Challenging The World! Meet The Saudi Women Scientists - Al-Bawaba

Low levels of alcohol intake linked to greater risk of atrial fibrillation – Hospital Healthcare Europe

In trying to better understand the relationship between all levels of alcohol intake and the risk of AF, a group of European researchers turned to information contained in the Monica Risk, Genetics, Archiving and Monograph (MONGAM) project database.

This multinational collaborative study was established in the 1990s to explore the relationship among Europeans between the development of cardiovascular disease and classic and genetic risk factors. The dataset contains self-reported information on classic cardiovascular risk factors e.g., BMI, hypertension, smoking status etc, collected from community cohorts across Europe with baseline data available from 1982. For the present study, researchers examined data collected from 1982 to 2010. Individuals self-reported the type of alcohol they drank (e.g., wines, spirits, beer) and drinking patterns. A calculation of the alcohol intake was then undertaken and expressed as grams of alcohol, with one drink approximating to 12g of alcohol. The diagnosis of both AF and heart failure were based on either questionnaire information or from national hospital discharge data. The team also collected data on measurement of the biomarkers N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide and serum high sensitivity troponin I levels.

FindingsA total of 100,092 individuals without AF at baseline and with a mean age of 47.8 years (51.7% female) were included in the analysis and followed for a median of 13.9 years. Nearly half of all participants (46.3%) reported consuming up to one alcoholic drink per day (12g alcohol). During the follow-up period, there were 5854 incident cases of AF and using regression analysis, the researchers calculated that consumption of one alcoholic drink per day increased the risk of AF by 16% (hazard ratio, HR = 1.16, 95% CI 1.111.22, p < 0.001), irrespective of the type of alcoholic beverage consumed. Furthermore, this association remained (HR = 1.18) after adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors and was similar between the sexes. The association between AF and alcohol intake was also independent of heart failure incidence and remained even after excluding individuals over 80 years of age (who are at a higher risk of AF). While the literature provides some evidence to support a relationship between alcohol consumption and myocardial wall stress, reflected by changes in the two biomarkers measured in the study, the researchers observed only a weak correlation.

They concluded that although it is possible that low intakes of alcohol might offer some degree of protection against cardiovascular disease, their study suggested that this is not the case with AF and that this increased risk occurs independently of classical pathways. They called for a strategy of reducing alcohol intake which might prevent a substantial number of AF cases.

CitationCsengeri Det al. Alcohol consumption, cardiac biomarkers and risk of atrial fibrillation and adverse outcomes. Eur Heart J 2021.

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Low levels of alcohol intake linked to greater risk of atrial fibrillation - Hospital Healthcare Europe

Everything You Need To Know About Migraines – The Swaddle

According to the Global Burden of Disease Study in 2013, migraines were found to be the sixth largest cause of years lost due to disability, worldwide. Further, some sources suggest that migraines constitute the third most common disease in the world with an estimated global prevalence of 14.7% affecting around 1 in 7 people.

However, migraines are more common in women, and according to the NHS, they affect as many as 1 in every 5 women, and only about 1 in every 15 men.

Believed to be a neurological condition, migraines are intense, often pulsing, debilitating headaches that can also be followed by a host of other symptoms.

Most migraine-sufferers experience their first migraine headache between ages of 10 and 40.

Unlike headaches caused by tension, migraines tend to be more severe, and can also be described as a throbbing pain, rather than a consistent, dull one. In addition, migraines are also believed to typically cause headaches affecting only one side the head but the pain may shift from one side to another. In about a third of migraine-sufferers, however, the headaches affect both sides simultaneously.

Also, unlike sinus-related headaches, which are often accompanied by nasal congestion, facial pressure, and fever, migraines have their own set of symptoms.

Related on The Swaddle:

Why Do Some People Get Headaches in the Morning?

The acronym P.O.U.N.D. is considered an easy way to remember the symptoms of migraines. Here, P stands for pulsating pain; O for one-day duration of severe untreated attacks; U for unilateral, i.e., one-sided, pain; N for nausea and vomiting; and D for disabling intensity.

However, migraine symptoms can vary widely among people leading at least half of all migraine-sufferers to think that they have sinus or tension headaches, and not migraines, according to Harvard Health.

In addition to the symptoms contained in P.O.U.N.D., migraines may also be accompanied by:

Moreover, called a migraine hangover, in several cases, tiredness and irritability lasts another two days after the headache subsides. Muscle pain, weakness, and either food cravings or a lack of appetite may also follow the period of intense headaches.

Also, symptoms like constipation, mood swings, food craving, stiffness in the neck, increased thirst and urination, and yawning frequently may also signal the onset of an episode, according to some experts.

Scientists are still trying to understand the underlying cause(s) behind migraines, but neurologists believe that migraines may be caused by changes in the brains nerve cell activities, or blood flow with the latter believed to, at least, worsen migraines, even if it hasnt necessarily caused them. However, what causes these changes is also uncertain, but experts note that they may be associated with a host of environmental and genetic factors.

In fact, 70% of those who experience migraine headaches, have at least one close relative with the problem making a strong case for the influence of genetics on migraines.

Related on The Swaddle:

How the Sharp and Sudden Sensation of Brain Freeze Happens

At the same time, triggers like changing weather, fluctuating sleep patterns, mental or emotional stressors like depression and anxiety, medications or diets, and sensory stressors such as bright lights or strong smells have also been associated with migraines.

Given the higher prevalence of migraine among women, experts are also exploring possible correlations of migraines with sex hormones. About five days prior to the onset of bleeding, thats when the estrogen drops and that drop is related to this triggering of migraine, Jelena Pavlovic, a neurologist at the Montefiore Medical Center in NYC, explained in a Nature report. Its not the absolute levels of hormones, but more the fluctuations in hormones that cause the migraine attacks, Antoinette Maassen van den Brink, a pharmacologist at the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, added. Similarly, a Dutch study from 2004, had also lent credence to the theory had sex hormones may have a role to play in migraines, by finding that 26% of individuals undergoing male-to-female transition had reported experiencing migraines.

Migraines cant be cured yet. But for trigger-induced migraines, the simplest solution is to avoid the trigger. However, since thats not always possible, there are medications to help ease the symptoms of migraines.

But in addition to prescription medications that help manage symptoms better, doctors can also recommend lifestyle changes, or even hormone therapy, to prevent frequent onsets of migraines.

However, experts believe that research on migraines is still lacking, resulting in more than half of those that experience migraines, never diagnosed. According to some migraine-researchers, this is likely because it affects women more, and as we know, womens pain often receives less medical attention than mens. If migraine affected men at the same rate, we would have much better studies A lot of the biases and stigma associated with migraine have to do with it being a disorder of women, Pavlovic remarked.

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Everything You Need To Know About Migraines - The Swaddle

Anorexia nervosa: Symptoms, causes, and treatment – Medical News Today

Anorexia nervosa is a serious mental health condition and a potentially life threatening eating disorder. However, with the right treatment, recovery is possible.

Anorexia nervosa often involves emotional challenges, an unrealistic body image, and an exaggerated fear of gaining weight. However, it can affect people differently.

In some cases, an individual may lose a significant amount of weight and demonstrate the characteristic behaviors of anorexia but not have a very low body weight or body mass index (BMI). Researchers refer to this as atypical anorexia nervosa.

Anorexia nervosa often appears during a persons teenage years or early adulthood, but it can sometimes begin in the preteen years or later in life.

People often think of anorexia nervosa in connection with females, but it can affect people of any sex or gender. Research suggests that the risk of eating disorders may be higher among transgender people than cisgender people.

Statistics show that males represent about 25% of people with anorexia and that the effects are more likely to be life threatening among males than females. The reason for this is that males often receive a later diagnosis due to the mistaken belief that it does not affect them.

Anorexia nervosa is different than anorexia. Anorexia means a loss of appetite or the inability to eat, and it can be a symptom of various diseases.

A person with anorexia nervosa will intentionally restrict their food intake as a way to help them manage emotional challenges. These often involve a fear of gaining weight or a desire to lose weight.

Dietary restrictions can lead to nutritional deficiencies, which can severely affect overall health and result in potentially life threatening complications.

The emotional and psychological challenges of anorexia nervosa can be hard for a person to overcome.

Therapy includes counseling, nutritional advice, and medical care. Some people may need treatment in the hospital.

There are many myths about eating disorders. These can lead to false assumptions and affect a persons chances of seeking and getting help.

Learn more about the myths surrounding eating disorders and the real facts.

Anorexia nervosa is a complex condition. The main sign is significant weight loss or low body weight. In atypical anorexia nervosa, the person may still have a moderate weight despite substantial weight loss.

A lack of nutrients may lead to other physical signs and symptoms, including:

The person may also demonstrate certain behaviors, such as:

The person may associate food and eating with guilt. They may seem unaware that anything is wrong or be unwilling to recognize their issues around eating.

Anorexia nervosa affects people differently. Not everyone with the condition will behave in the same way, and some individuals may experience atypical anorexia nervosa, meaning that they will not have a low body weight.

Concerns about body weight and shape are often features of anorexia nervosa, but they may not be the main cause. Experts do not know exactly why the condition occurs, but genetic, environmental, biological, and other factors may play a role.

Some factors that may increase a persons risk include:

For some people, anorexia nervosa develops as a way of gaining control over an aspect of their life. As the person exerts control over their food intake, this feels like success, and so, the behavior continues.

A person may also have a higher chance of developing an eating disorder if:

In 2015, researchers found that people with anorexia nervosa may have different gut microbial communities than those without the condition. This could contribute to anxiety, depression, and further weight loss.

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting many people with eating disorders. Learn about some ways to cope.

Early diagnosis and prompt treatment increase the chance of a good outcome.

The doctor may ask the person questions to get an idea of their eating habits, weight, and overall mental and physical health.

They may order tests to rule out other underlying medical conditions with similar signs and symptoms, such as malabsorption, cancer, and hormonal problems.

The National Eating Disorders Association state that the criteria below can help doctors make a diagnosis. However, they note that not everyone with a serious eating disorder will meet all these criteria.

A healthcare professional will make a comprehensive plan to address the individuals specific needs.

It will involve a team of specialists who can help the person overcome the physical, emotional, social, and psychological challenges that they face.

Strategies include:

It can be challenging for a person with anorexia nervosa to engage in treatment. As a result, the persons participation in therapy may fluctuate. Relapses can occur, especially during the first 2 years of treatment.

Family and friends can provide crucial support. If they can understand the condition and identify its signs and symptoms, they can support the individual during recovery and help prevent a relapse.

The person may need to spend time in the hospital if they have:

Treatment will allow for a gradual increase in food intake to restore overall health.

Complications can affect every bodily system, and they can be severe.

They include problems with:

Some of these issues can be life threatening. In addition to the physical effects of poor nutrition, the person may have a high risk of suicide.

A post on the National Institute of Mental Healths website in 2012 described anorexia nervosa as the mental health condition most likely to be fatal.

For this reason, early diagnosis and treatment are essential.

Maria Rago, Ph.D., the president of the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), offered Medical News Today the following tips for anyone who thinks that they or a loved one may have anorexia nervosa:

Ms. Rago noted that ANAD have free support groups and mentoring programs for recovery and that they invite people to take advantage of the free services. The right help can change your life, and even save your life, she said.

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder and a serious mental health condition. It involves restricting food intake, which can lead to severe nutritional deficiencies.

The effects of anorexia nervosa can be life threatening, but counseling, medication, and treatment for underlying mental health issues can help people with this condition.

If a person has signs of anorexia nervosa, they should seek medical help. Early diagnosis and treatment are more likely to lead to a positive outcome.

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Anorexia nervosa: Symptoms, causes, and treatment - Medical News Today

Girls and Autism: One of Lynne Malcolm’s favourite programs – ABC News

Lynne Malcolm: Hi, Lynne Malcolm with you for All in the Mind. Today, girls and women on the autism spectrum; are they slipping through the net?

Temple Grandin [archival]: My name is Temple Grandin. I'm not like other people. You know, you never get cured of autism, but what you do is you learn more and more things. When I was a little kid I was very autistic, non-verbal, rocking. That's the kind of kid they just put away in institutions. But I had a speech teacher that worked really hard with me, and I can't emphasise enough the importance of young children getting early intervention. You got a two-year-old or three-year-old with no speech, don't wait.

Francesca Happ: One of the best known women with autism is Temple Grandin, and she is an extraordinarily brilliant woman who has I think several degrees and PhDs and designs livestock facilities. And she talks about her ability to visualise the whole of a livestock facility in her head before she even begins to draw the blueprints. And also she talks about her empathy for animals, her ability to see the world as if she was one of the cattle that's going to have to go through this livestock facility and to notice the little shiny things that might scare them or disturb them and so on.

How is she representative of women with autism? Well, she's highly, highly intelligent, she talks about her ability to compensate and to cope, and she also interestingly talks about having made great progress even later in life. So she said at one point that her brain switched on aged 50. So a very important message that it's not just children with autism, it's adults and older adults too with autism.

Lynne Malcolm: That's Francesca Happ, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, and she's also president of the International Society for Autism Research.

Apart from a few notable exceptions such as the inspiring Temple Grandin, autism or ASD is most often thought of as a male disorder. However, Francesca Happ explains that the statistics tell only part of the story.

Francesca Happ: The general prevalence suggests that about four times as many males as females get an autism diagnosis, and this varies across the spectrum. So the proportions are higher in high functioning or more subtle forms of autism, and more even at the lower end of the spectrum where there is also intellectual impairment.

Lynne Malcolm: So what's the level of understanding of women with ASD generally?

Francesca Happ: I think we know very, very little really about how autism presents in girls and women. There are some studies, but the main problem is that the studies start in a clinic. And so you can see there is a circularity. If we are missing women and girls with autism because we are not good at recognising them, then studying those we do spot isn't going to tell us very much about the ones we miss.

Lynne Malcolm: Dr Janine Manjiviona is a clinical psychologist in Melbourne with 20 years experience of diagnosing girls on the autism spectrum.

Janine Manjiviona: They are being both underdiagnosed I think and misdiagnosed. And when you historically have a look at the whole history of autism, originally in Kanner's descriptions, they were largely focused on males. And Hans Asperger's clinical cases were all male. So across the epidemiological studies throughout the world that provide sex ratios, gender differences are always apparent, and females never outnumber the males, and the reasons for that are not always clear but I think it's plausible that underdiagnosis of females may contribute.

Lynne Malcolm: Janine Manjiviona.

Research is emerging that one of the reasons that ASD in females may be missed by clinicians is that it looks different in girls than it does in boys. Girls may be better at covering up the more obvious characteristics of autism.

Francesca Happ: Some of the differences are that we think the social difficulties in some girls with autism may be less obvious. Some women with autism describe a strategy of copying somebody. They pick somebody in their class or their workplace and they just copy everything about that person, how they dress, how they act, how they talk, and that kind of masking strategy we don't see very much in boys and men with autism.

If you looked at the research on women with autism, most of the work suggests that women with autism may be more impaired and more often have intellectual difficulties and be hit harder by autism, but I suspect that's because the subtler cases are missed by our diagnostic system.

Lynne Malcolm: So why do you think girls often do go undiagnosed?

Francesca Happ: It's interesting question, why we might miss girls with autism, because on the face of it you might think that our expectations of social functioning are even higher for girls than for boys, and so maybe we should be more alert to these difficulties. I think there are a lot of reasons why we might miss autism in women. One is diagnostic overshadowing or diagnostic substitution were, for example, a girl who has eating disorders, when that's picked up as an eating disorder they don't ask any more questions about what else might be different about this young woman. So a girl with autism who has an eating disorder may just be diagnosed with an eating disorder.

I think it's also likely that girls show their autism in a different way, and a way that our diagnostic system isn't ready for. So an example would be that when a clinician is deciding if a child has autism, they will look for rigid and repetitive behaviour, which might include unusual special interests. A boy with autism might have a fascination with electricity pylons and know all the facts about electricity pylons, and the clinician is going to go, aha, that's sounds pretty odd to me. But a girl with autism might be fascinated by a particular pop group, and she learns all the facts about them, and when she says her interest is this pop group, the clinician thinks, well, that's pretty normal. So unless he digs deeper and finds out actually she has no interest in going to hear them perform or even listening to their music, she just collects the facts, then otherwise the clinician is going to be fooled into thinking, okay, this isn't autism.

Lynne Malcolm: Professor Francesca Happ.

Because ASD can be missed in girls, they often don't discover it till later in their lives.

Hannah Belcher had been seeing therapists throughout her adolescence because of her struggles with her psychological health. And a diagnosis of ASD in her early twenties came as a bit of a shock.

Hannah Belcher: I was 23 and I was in art therapy and I'd had a lot of therapy before this that hadn't worked, things like CBT, that get to a point with me where they'd realised that I was really avoidant and quite blocked. She finally said to me, 'I think you've got Asperger's.' I'd never considered it before, it was a real shock. And I went through a whole process of accepting it, denying it, being angry about it, before I got officially diagnosed.

Lynne Malcolm: Why do you think it was unnoticed?

Hannah Belcher: I think the main problem was that my symptoms weren't as obvious as they are in males. So things like eye contact I was perfectly okay with, I actually count out my eye contact, so it was never really a problem. And I think doctors just saw my anxiety and just saw that as the main diagnosis without really considering why is that there. I think they saw that as the challenging behaviour problem and not what was underlying it.

Lynne Malcolm: So, looking back, what were your symptoms?

Hannah Belcher: I had a lot of problems with anxiety, social anxiety in particular, talking to people. So when I started school I found that I just was too anxious to speak so I just couldn't form my words, I couldn't think of what to say to people, and it just became like a really big anxiety problem for me where the more people pressured me, the harder it was to speak. So I dropped out of school when I was 14 because that all became too much for me. But the ones I never really paid attention to, things like sensory problems, I'm quite sensitive to noise and colour and smells and things like that.

Lynne Malcolm: And you were also obsessed with music?

Hannah Belcher: Yes, I still am a little bit, in a kind of typical autistic obsessional away. I just listen to the same song over and over again, and I still do that now, if I get a song I like it's just on repeat constantly until I get sick of it.

Lynne Malcolm: And what about your relationship to food?

Hannah Belcher: I was a very picky eater. I think that was my main problem when I was a child. It had to be in a certain way, it had to be cut in a certain way, put on the plate in a certain way. There was only certain items I would eat and I would just eat them continually until I got sick of them and I'd move onto the next thing. I'm still like that a little bit now but slightly better.

Lynne Malcolm: And what did he think was going on for yourself before you were diagnosed?

Hannah Belcher: I thought it was anxiety problems as well. I never considered autism really. I studied it and I still had never considered that I could have autism because my view of autism was also quite male stereotypical.

Lynne Malcolm: Hannah Belcher thinks that girls and women with autism mask their symptoms because of the social pressure on them as they are growing up. They're taught to be polite, and socially adaptable and they become very good at what she calls social mimicking. She's so passionate about this topic that she's doing a PhD in psychology at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. She's conducting an online survey to improve the diagnosis for females with ASD.

Hannah Belcher: So my research is with Dr Steven Stagg, and we're looking at the number of females that have been undiagnosed with autism possibly, and also looking at if their social mimicking has anything to do with this, whether those females that are better at socially mimicking are being hidden more, and what role that has to play with misdiagnosis as well with other mental health conditions.

Lynne Malcolm: And what are the results that you're seeing?

Hannah Belcher: At the moment it's quite early stages, we haven't really got anything just yet. I've had a lot of females come forward, all saying the same thing, you know, 'I had this problem, I think I'm autistic, I socially mimic really well,' just loads of them seemed to have this same problem.

Lynne Malcolm: So do you think we need different diagnostic measures for testing autism in girls and boys?

Hannah Belcher: I think it's probably important to look at the social adaptions they are making alongside what we already have. So I think something like the social mimicking scale I've come up with, something like that to go alongside the diagnosis, to say, okay, this female is slightly below the threshold for diagnosis but she does score highly on social mimicking, so we have to take that into account, that she could be hiding a lot of her symptoms.

Lynne Malcolm: Hannah Belcher believes that females with ASD present differently because of socialisation.

However, there's growing suspicion that the underlying biology of autism in males and females may also be quite distinct.

Professor Francesca Happ at King's College London studies ASD using brain imaging studies and genetics.

Francesca Happ: I think there are probably both biological differences and social and cultural reasons why we may not be very good at picking up autism in girls. One of the explanations for the unbalanced ratio, why more girls might be affected, is what's called the female protective effect. So we've done some work that suggest that girls who have autism have been hit harder or have a larger genetic dose than boys with autism, and you can tell this because if you look at their brothers and sisters, the brothers and sisters of girls with autism are more likely to have autism or some traits of autism than the brothers and sisters of boys with autism. So that's suggesting there's a bigger genetic hit for those girls with autism than for boys with autism.

Lynne Malcolm: So from a biological perspective, why might females be protected against autism?

Francesca Happ: In general, males are more affected by all neurodevelopmental disorders. So there are more males than females with ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, with dyslexia, with dyspraxia or clumsiness. It seems that the male developing foetus takes a longer time in a vulnerable stage and so may be more susceptible to all kinds of things. However, the ratio in autism is even higher than in those other cases. We don't know why exactly that is. Simon Baron-Cohen has a theory that it's about exposure to testosterone in utero, predisposing the male brain to the autistic pattern. That's a very interesting theory. There are other theories as well. The answer is at the moment we don't know.

Lynne Malcolm: So one theory I think you might have been referring to, it is called the extreme male brain theory. Tell me about that theory.

Francesca Happ: So Simon Baron-Cohen has the theory of the extreme male brain, which suggests that all of us have a balance between our ability to understand other people, which he calls empathising, and our ability to understand non-social systems, he calls systemising. And he says in a male brain the systemising is highly developed and the empathising is less good, and that autism can be thought of as a very extreme version of this where social understanding is really very problematic and poor, but understanding of non-social systems can be extremely good.

Lynne Malcolm: So what do you think of this theory?

Francesca Happ: I think it's interesting. I don't fully agree with it. I think that, for example, empathising that Simon Baron-Cohen talks about is actually made up of lots of different abilities, some of which are quite intact in autism, like the ability to empathise with somebody's emotional state or care if somebody is hurt. People with autism have no problem with that. And on the other hand knowing what somebody else is thinking, which is very difficult for people with autism. So I think empathising in Simon's theory really mushes together a whole lot of things that are quite distinct. And I think it's not clear in his theory whether empathising and systemising are in trade-off, so if you are good at one you have to be bad at the other or whether they are really separate dimensions, which some of our work would suggest the non-social assets in autism and the social difficulties in autism are really quite separable and distinct and actually have distinct genetic underpinnings.

Lynne Malcolm: Francesca Happ.

It's All in the Mind with me, Lynne Malcolm, on RN, Radio Australia and online.

We're hearing about the distinct experience of girls and women with autism spectrum disorder. Because they can present differently, they're often not recognised as having ASD, and can be misdiagnosed.

Donna Rigoni has two children, Ayla and Bailey, both with a diagnosis of ASD. Her daughter Ayla is now 5 years old.

Donna Rigoni: When she was about 2 I noticed lots of little things with the way she was playing. She would organise her toys, she wouldn't let anyone touch her toys, it had to be in a certain way. And then with her language she would repeat the same thing over and over. So if we were driving somewhere and she'd see a pattern on the wall she would repeat that every time we drove past that same place. So lots of repetitive information she was giving me.

Lynne Malcolm: So when you are noticing her behaviours, what made you think that they were part of the autism spectrum disorder?

Donna Rigoni: Well, I also have a son who was diagnosed before her, so just following things that he was doing as well, stuff like the sensory issues, walking on her tippy-toes, hands over her ears when there was a loud noise, so even vacuuming was hurtful for her. Things like dressing and washing was all just too traumatic for Ayla, she would adjust scream that I was hurting her every time I'd dry her and wash her. So just putting the play, the language, the sensory problems all together, and it just screamed ASD to me.

Lynne Malcolm: So you have a son with ASD as well?

Donna Rigoni: Yes.

Lynne Malcolm: And what are the differences in the way they behave and the way they present?

Donna Rigoni: It's huge. Ayla's a lot calmer and she talks to me more about her feelings, like she'll say to me, 'Mum, what does that mean? Mum, why is that person looking like that?' Meaning their face expressions. She shuts down when she is overwhelmed, whereas my son will have a meltdown when he is overwhelmed. So he is very loud. He's a bit more angry, sounds a bit more abrupt than her. And even her interests, for my son it's technology, downloads, anything to do with wi-fi and technology interests him, where her interest is animals, horses in particular, dogs, it just seems an interest that more children tend to go to than to what my son's interest was or is. But definitely Bailey was easier to pick.

Lynne Malcolm: Donna Rigoni.

Clinical psychologist Janine Manjiviona diagnosed Donna's daughter Ayla with ASD. She emphasises how important it is to gather comprehensive information from multiple contexts when they're being assessed, to prevent girls from slipping under the radar.

She says that there are a number of other conditions which can overlap with ASD, and girls are most often diagnosed when they hit puberty.

Janine Manjiviona: Well, I think it's at that time when their difficulties become more obvious. Often they are on the periphery of social groups. The girls have often learned their social skills by intellect, not necessarily intuitively or instinctively. Teenage girls are very socially demanding on each other, and the girls with ASD can be marginalised, teased and bullied. And up until then the difficulties may be masked due to a veneer of coping.

Lynne Malcolm: There's discussion in the literature, and you've seen this too in your practice I think, that there is a crossover between the symptoms of ASD and eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa with girls. Can you tell us about that?

Janine Manjiviona: Yes, anorexia is one of the conditions that overlaps with ASD. It's not the only condition and there's lots of comorbidity issues with ASD, but controlling weight can be a way of fitting in, looking right, it can be part of an attempt to gain social acceptance. And I guess another reason might be that when girls hit puberty, many of them have trouble coping with the changes in their body and feelings, menstruation, breast development and so on, and they can develop anorexia as a way of coping. They don't like highlighting their femaleness, and many of them prefer to have a somewhat androgynous look.

They've told me too in my clinical discussions with them that they don't really want to grow up. 'I don't want to grow up,' they say, 'I don't want to have children, I just want to stay home with mum and dad and my brothers and sisters.' So I think it's related in part to that whole issue of change and anxiety.

Lynne Malcolm: Psychologist Janine Manjiviona offers therapy to girls and women with ASD to help them deal with their concept of themselves and the anxiety associated with that.

She also referred Donna Rigoni and her five-year-old daughter Ayla to a therapy program called Social Thinking at Spectrum Services in Melbourne. It's designed to help prevent anxiety developing later.

Donna Rigoni: So she's in a small group of three children which are at the similar level to her on the spectrum. She has been taught things like whole-body listening, so how to listen properly, so learning to stay still, looking at the person who is talking so they know that you are listening. Also we are working on having Ayla's body in the group. She knows that if she is sitting with the group, other people in the group know that she is listening and willing to contribute. If her body is out of the group than the other children in the group will think, oh, Ayla is not really wanting to contribute. So she has used that at school this year. She actually says to her teacher, 'I'm putting my body in the group.' So she is using a lot of the language that she is being taught.

A big one that Ayla's doing at the moment is learning a strategy called the group plan, and what it is is she has to follow what everyone else is doing within the group. So this shows that they are thinking of each other, that Ayla understands that if she is following the group plan, everyone is happy, and they can work together constructively. If she is not in the group plan and wants to do her own thing, well, it might make others unhappy. And this has really helped with things like birthday parties.

We went to a birthday party recently and it was something that Ayla was a little bit stressed about the night before. But the lady in charge of the party explained what they were doing, and I said to Ayla, 'Don't worry Ayla, just follow the group plan.' She said, 'Mum, I know, I'm following the group plan, it's all good.' So she was able to use that in her everyday life. So that has really helped.

She has also learned a phrase called 'words are bumping', and so she knows that if someone is trying to talk on top of her or interrupt, she'll say, 'Hang on, stop, words are bumping, I need to finish what I'm saying.' So this has all been from the speech therapy that she's doing.

We're also doing a lot on thinking thoughts and feeling feelings. So Ayla has been taught that you think with your brain and you feel with your heart. She understands that people have thinking bubbles above their brain. She knows you can't see it but she knows that if they are looking at something, they would probably be thinking about that thing, and that has been really helpful because there are days where Ayla has upset me, and I'll say to her, 'You're hurting my heart, Ayla.' And she'll go, 'Oh, okay.' And so she gets that.

And there'll be times when she'll come home and she'll pick up something and say, 'Mum, what am I thinking about?' And she'll hold something and look at it really intensely, and I'll go, 'You're thinking about having a drink.' And she goes, 'Yeah, that's right!' And then she'll make me look at something and say, 'What are you thinking about?' And we play games like that. So all of that stuff has been an incredible help for Ayla, which is stuff that my son didn't have because he was diagnosed later. So I think the earlier girls are diagnosed, you can give them so much more help. And what I'm hoping is by the time Ayla gets to puberty we will be prepared. So it won't be so stressful, and hopefully she won't be so anxious.

Lynne Malcolm: Donna Rigoni.

Hannah Belcher wasn't diagnosed with ASD until she was 23 years old, and she feels it's really important to get the right diagnosis to prevent inappropriate treatment.

Hannah Belcher: Things like depression, anxiety, OCD and borderline personality disorder are really common misdiagnoses for females with autism, and people don't tend to look at the root of them. So with OCD I say that someone with OCD may have to turn a light switch on and off a certain number of times because they feel like something bad will happen, whereas someone with autism may do that and it's quite a soothing mechanism. And I think with girls in particular this has been misconstrued as a different disorder overall. I think that's the main problem with the misdiagnosis.

Lynne Malcolm: Does that apply to you and behaviours that you display?

Hannah Belcher: I certainly had some OCD traits when I was younger, hand washing in particular, and I do things now that are quite obsessive, movements and things like that, which are more for me soothing than they are obsessive. I don't feel like something bad will happen if I don't clink my fingers a certain number of times, it's a soothing kind of stimming mechanism for me.

Lynne Malcolm: It just makes you feel better?

Hannah Belcher: Yes, which certainly if my psychiatrist saw me doing it he'd think, okay, OCD, but

Lynne Malcolm: Even your psychiatrist doesn't really understand that?

Hannah Belcher: I think it's a general problem with psychiatrists, that they aren't given a thorough training on autism. So the view they have is also quite stereotypically male, so it's still a challenge getting through to the doctors that there is a difference.

Lynne Malcolm: What would you like to see in the future? Where are you going to take your research?

Hannah Belcher: I want to see better diagnosis for females overall, I want to see more females being picked up earlier in their lives when they can get the support at school that they need, and just more awareness about the issue. I had an article out recently and I got accused of sexism and all sorts because the issue is so unknown and so unheard of that it's quite difficult to get the message out there. Certainly I think it's a definite gap in our understanding of autism that needs to be addressed.

Lynne Malcolm: Hannah Belcher.

Francesca Happ: Certainly for the families where there isn't a diagnosis of autism in particular, if your daughter has lifelong social and communication problems, if they don't get on with others in the way that you would expect and they find it hard to know if other people are joking or being sarcastic or telling a lie, if they are socially vulnerable, then you might think about whether this is autism, even though it doesn't fit the stereotype of autism, it doesn't look like Rain Man or one of the portrayals of male autism in the media.

Lynne Malcolm: And Francesca Happ suggests that further study into the gender differences seen in autism may help our overall knowledge of the autism spectrum disorder.

Francesca Happ: I think a lot of researchers believe that if we understood why more males than females are affected with autism we would have a better understanding potentially of either the genetic or environmental influences on autism. So, for example, if Simon Baron-Cohen is right and it's to do with foetal testosterone in utero, then we might have a handle on the mechanisms of brain development that are different in autism. And I suppose the point of all of the genetic work that is going on around the world is to understand the mechanisms in order to improve outcome, to make outcome for people with autism the very best that it can be.

Lynne Malcolm: In the course of her work Francesca Happ has formed friendships with many women with autism and she's struck by the diversity of their experience.

Francesca Happ: Some of my friends with autism will say, 'If I could take a pill tomorrow and wake up without autism I would do it instantly because my autism makes me so frightened of the world and so unable to go out and do the things I want to do that I hate having autism.' And then I have other friends, women with autism, who say, 'Autism is who I am and what I am and I wouldn't change it. It is me.'

Interestingly I have some friends with autism who have transitioned genders from being a woman to being a man and feel much, much more comfortable as a man, which is interesting, and I learn a lot from talking to them. And other women with autism who go and speak about their experiences and are such gifted orators, so funny, so poised on stage, that people really doubt that they even have autism. But then if you could see that same woman trembling at the thought of having to buy a ticket at the train station or having to brush past a dog in the railway carriage to get to her seat, you see this ability of some women with autism to mask their difficulties. But how much it affects their everyday life and how brave they are to struggle to live in our neurotypical world.

Lynne Malcolm: Francesca Happ, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at King's College London.

Further information related to today's program can be found on the All in the Mind website, it's easy to navigate your way there from the RN home page.

Thanks to producer Diane Dean and sound engineer Luke Purse. I'm Lynne Malcolm. Great to have your company, see you next week.

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Girls and Autism: One of Lynne Malcolm's favourite programs - ABC News

Bryan Sykes, Who Saw the Ancient Past in Genes, Dies at 73 – The New York Times

Whats more, unlike nuclear DNA, mitochondrial DNA passes virtually unchanged from mother to child, with a predictable rate of mutation that gave Dr. Sykes and other researchers a way to draw links between modern populations and ancient ones.

After the success of The Seven Daughters of Eve, which allowed him to buy a second home in Edinburgh and a blue Mercedes convertible with the license plate D7 EVE, Dr. Sykes set aside most of his academic work in favor of a career popularizing genetics through TV programs and general-interest books at a time when phrases like DNA sequencing were not yet household words.

He demonstrated an almost preternatural sense for distilling complex science through narratives and high-profile stunts, like Bigfoot Files, a three-part series that ran on British TV in 2013 in which he assessed claims about some three dozen hair and skin samples sent to him by cryptozoologists, people on the hunt for legendary creatures like the Loch Ness Monster and the Abominable Snowman.

While his results were definitive and not in their favor, his conclusion was magnanimous. Rather than persisting in the view that they have been rejected by science, advocates in the cryptozoology community have more work to do, he wrote in a paper announcing his results. It was an encouraging statement that won him legions of fans among a section of the public that is often at odds with the scientific establishment.

Bryan always wanted to be a gentleman scientist, said Sue Foden, his first wife, in an interview. He wanted science to be fun, and for people to enjoy.

Bryan Clifford Sykes was born on Sept. 9, 1947, in Eltham, a suburb of London. His father, Frank Sykes, was an accountant. His mother, Irene (Clifford) Sykes, was a homemaker. He studied biochemistry at the University of Liverpool, received his Ph.D. from the University of Bristol and arrived at Oxford in 1973 to pursue a doctorate in science.

Dr. Sykes married Ms. Foden in 1978. They divorced in 1984 but remained close, and had a son, Richard, together in 1991. A second marriage, to Janis Wilson, also ended in divorce. Along with his son, he is survived by his brother, Nigel Sykes.

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Bryan Sykes, Who Saw the Ancient Past in Genes, Dies at 73 - The New York Times

Identical Twins Are More Genetically Different Than We Thought: Study – The Swaddle

A breakthrough study published in Nature Genetics asserts identical twins also called monozygotic twins that develop from one fertilized egg may not be genetically identical, after all. The finding challenges the assumption scientists hold dear when studying the effects of nature versus nurture, particularly when looking at the impact of diseases: that twins have minimal genetic differences, so any difference in their experience of a bodily phenomenon stems from environmental factors.

So if you take identical twins raised apart and one of them developed autism, the classic interpretation has been that that is caused by the environment. But that is an extraordinarily dangerous conclusion, the co-author of the paper and head of Icelands deCode genetics, Kari Stefansson, tells The Guardian.

The new research suggests that identical twins had, on average, 5.2 genetic mutational differences between them. It also found 15% of monozygotic twins had an even higher number, beginning early in their development. This means some identical twins, right from their conception, have different DNA, which may affect how they experience diseases. Experts have welcomed this research, saying it upends the classical twin research model medical scientists use in determining the effect of biology versus environment on individuals experience of illness.

Related on The Swaddle:

Scientists Seldom Test on Female Lab Rats Because Females Have Hormonal Cycles

The research may also change how we understand and refer to the phenomenon of twinning it may be more accurate to refer to such twins as monozygotic, instead of identical, Stefansson adds. The current research is one of a handful that challenges the identical-twins-are-identical assumption, but researchers note more investigation is needed to pinpoint the exact mutations (and when they occur) if the scientific community is to change how it studies disease.

For now, we know monozygotic twins are not identical but how, why, where, and when needs more digging.

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Identical Twins Are More Genetically Different Than We Thought: Study - The Swaddle

A thematic analysis of experiences of HIV risks among female sex workers in the Yunnan-Vietnam Chinese border region – BMC Blogs Network

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A Look at the Subversive Art of lisabeth Vige Le Brunand the One Gender-Bending Portrait That Has Kept Historians Guessing – artnet News

In her new book, Twelve Paintings, writerTal Sterngast explores Berlins Gemldegalerie, which is known for an exceptional collection of European paintings. She lands on twelve paintings from the collection and investigates the story behind them through important questions of today. In this chapter, called The Creativity of Women, Sterngast looks at the legacy of prominent French portraitist lisabeth Vige Le Brun, one of the few women artists in the Berlin state collection, asking what paradoxes exist within art that is made by women.

Born in 1755 in Paris to a painter and a hairdresser, Elisabeth Vige-Lebrun achieved success in France and Europe against the norms of the time during one of the most turbulent periods in European history. Her father, who recognized the daughters talent and passion early on, died when she was 12. In her feminist essay Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists? from 1971, the art historian Linda Nochlin noted that, denied access to workshops, academies, or universities, almost all women artists known to us before the 20th century had a father in the profession.

From around 2,800 paintings in Berlins Gemldegalerie collection made north and south of the Alps between the 13th and the 18th century, 15 were painted by nine women. With the exception of Italian Renaissance painter Sofonisba Anguissola, all of them came from the northern countries and lived around the 18th century. Vige-Lebrun learned to paint by looking at and copying art in Paris, and began working as a portraitist in her youth, supporting her widowed mother and brother for a time. Soon after encountering Marie Antoinette, she became her court painter, the first woman to attain this rank. Admitted to the Acadmie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture (Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture) at age 28, she became one of only four women members and one of the leading portraitists of the ancien rgime.

Neither boy nor girl, neither adult nor child; not completely human, animal, or divine, the prince holds a laurel wreath demonstratively in the air. It is an opening waiting to be breached, whereas the phallic quiver of arrows laying partially concealed at his feet is a latent weapon, a possible complement to entering the ring. Echoing this potential intercourse or coupling, the princes winged figure hybridizes classic mythology with Jewish-Christian motifs. Cupid-Erosthe mischievous god of love equipped here with arrows but no bow, a reminder of the ancient knot that ties love with a woundis combined with a Judeo-Christian angel: a cherub or seraph. The two cherubim in rabbinic literature are described as human-like entities with wings, placed on the opposite ends of the Ark of the Covenant in the inner sanctum of the temple, containing the two stone tablets of the Ten Commandments. Representing a threshold between profane and sacred, between the given world and the one beyond, they guard the law. Higher in ancient Judaism and Christianitys hierarchy of angels, the seraphim announces the sacred name of God and its distinction from its creations. These winged creatures separate and connect human and divine, man, and God.

lisabeth Vige-Lebruns Prince Heinrich Lubomirski as the Geniusof Fame (178788). Acquired in 1874 from the Gallery. Fr. Heim, Paris. Photo: Jrg P. Anders.

In Western iconography, the distinction between seraph and cherub echoes the broad division between faith and reason; cherubs, the former; seraphs, the latter. Cupid as cherub thus takes the pagan idea of a demigod and superimposes it on the Catholic notion of an angel of the sort linked with encouragement to faith as opposed to reason; the latter would be the seraphs concern. The hybridization of Cupid and cherub may therefore point to an aspiration of synthesizing desire and faith. Could it be that the little princes androgyny, with the ambiguities or thresholds it captures, reverberates the zeitgeist of drastic transformations? The revolutionary program of the period was marked byor part ofa secularization of the divine, the exchange of the metaphysics of religion with revolutionary ideas and the loss of the sacred. What exactly was Vige-Lebrun idolizing in her Lubomirski portrait?

The genius of love, disguised in a portrait of a boy, not only evokes a sense of immanentization (as Greco-Roman gods often do, anthropomorphized and restlessly intervening in human affairs) but also implies a certain diffusion or inversion within the active/passive oppositions of man and woman, artist and model, subject, and object. As a portraitist at a time when women were denied apprenticeships and forbidden from drawing nudes, Vige-Lebrun was aware of the power relations inherent to the gaze. In her memoir, she admits to flirting with her male sitters: As soon as I observed any intention on their part of making sheeps eyes at me, I would paint them looking in another direction than mine, and then, at the least movement of the pupilla, would say, I am doing the eyes now.

Even when women were already officially permitted at the School of Fine Arts in Paris (and in other European art schools) much later at the end of the 19th century, they were still not allowed to copy the naked body. That undressed, to-be-painted body was not only standing for painting itself and the speculation of a passivity/activity dichotomy, but also to the question of truth, the naked truth. That was the time when Friedrich Nietzsche stressed how much the questions of art, style, and truth can not be dissociated from the question of the woman. An answer to the question what is woman cannot be found in any of the familiar modes of concept or knowledge, he noted. Yet it is impossible to resist looking for her. Men, asserts French philosopher Genevive Fraisse, didnt want women involved in the question of beauty, because it is married to the question of truth. It belonged to men. Copying the naked body, therefore, is also about gaining access to the truth.

Is there a difference between feminine and masculine creativity? And if there is one, how is it to be argued? Nochlins essay laid ground for a feminist methodology in art history, claiming that this question was the wrong one to begin with. Acknowledging that there were no women equivalents for Michelangelo or Rembrandt, Czanne, Picasso, or Matisse, or even for de Kooning or Warhol, she made the point that the fault lay not in womens genetics, but rather in institutions and education. As well as that art is not a means of pure self-expression but rather something that involves a self-consistent language of form, given conventions, which must be learned through teaching or individual work. Women were consistently and systematically denied access to both. In addition, she criticized the myth of the innate genius as an atemporal and mysterious power, embedded in the person of the great artist, a godlike figure.

While Nochlin and much of feminist art history after her rightly stressed the importance of the institutional over the individual, the question that is asked too little today is not whether women can make art or not anymore, but if and how women can be creative without adopting masculine attributes, without being creative like a man. Does the fact that there is no female style in the works of great women artists from Artemisia Gentileschi to Agnes Martin mean that theres nothing in common among women artists? Can a woman artist define art anew in radicality like, for example, Diego Velazquez, Marcel Duchamp, or Andy Warhol, or is it a different game altogether? Can the creativity of women extricate itself from the metaphor, from being an image; one that belongs to the sphere of mere appearances and temptation, but also to nature and motherhood?

Agnes Martin Untitled I (1985). Courtesy of Phillips.

Between its two facetsthe monstrous imagination of an endless birth-giving, as opposed to a suffering of being as endurance, in absencewhat are the paradoxes within which art is made by women? Corresponding to the former is much of performance art by women since the 1970s, which relates to taboo aspects of bodies: menstrual blood, childbearing, excrement, internal organs; or, differently, art made by and after Louise Bourgeoiss surrealism, vividly feeding off trauma and lending unconscious visual tropes (stairs, spiders, cages) meaning that is both narrative and therapeutic. In correlation to the latter, one can think of Agnes Martins repetitive grids that achieve not what is seen, but what is known forever in the mind unfolding contemplative states of existence. Or Vija Celminss detailed drawings and paintings of starry skies, spider webs, or the ocean as surfaces of spiritual solitude and retinal allure.

If the domain of modern art and artifice is understood as a substitute for fecundity, an outcome of a creativity which is in its essence masculine, what art can be made in fertility? Asking this question might risk all that womens fight for equality has accomplished. However, not asking it might be denying the potentialities of art made by women as something that can best be described as total otherness in this given, androcentric world.

Tal Sterngaststudied photography and film in Jerusalem, London, and Berlin. She has published numerous essays and articles about contemporary art and film in international newspapers and art magazines. She has organized several exhibitions. Her newbook, out now in English and in German with publisher Hatje Cantz, is based on the article series Alte Meister, published in the weekend supplement of die Tageszeitung from 2017 until 2019.

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A Look at the Subversive Art of lisabeth Vige Le Brunand the One Gender-Bending Portrait That Has Kept Historians Guessing - artnet News

Big rewards for Section II girls as basketball avenues increase – The Daily Gazette

Categories: -The Daily Gazette, High School Sports, Sports

Its always been big news when a player from Section II makes a commitment to join a Division I womens basketball program.

That happened seven times in recent months, a mass splurge that created a big story all of its own.

I remember when two or three was a good year, said former girls basketball coach Fran Pugliese, who began a 20-year stint at Draper and Columbia high schools back in 1977. Seven is amazing. Girls are playing so much now.

They are, and so many more will be joining in to compete, grow and be evaluated in places in and around the Capital Region that werent available not too long ago.

There were two AAU teams in this area when I was playing, said 1996 Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake graduate and current Niskayuna coach Sarah Neely. If you were lucky enough to make it.

Saratoga Springs coach and former Union College basketball standout Robin Chudy didnt even have that.

I played on a boys team that my dad coached, the 1988 Columbia graduate said. Back then, it wasnt huge.

The expansion of AAU programs and club teams in the area, and more recently organizations such as the Empire State Takeover, have helped change that.

There are more good players because there is more basketball available, former Shenendehowa girls coach Ken Strube said.

Section II has never seen a senior class of Division I commits quite like this one in respect to its large number and record of achievement. The all-star cast features Meghan Huerter of Shenendehowa (Providence), Niskayunas Olivia Olsen (Providence), state champion Cambridge twins Lilly Phillips (UAlbany) and Sophie Phillips (Rhode Island), Antonia May of Amsterdam (UMBC), Valencia Fontenelle-Posson of Guilderland (Siena) and Maddisyn Mahoney of Shaker (Fairleigh Dickinson).

Whether those players get a chance to play this winter season remains in question with COVID-19 cases on the rise and the high risk sport of basketball on hold in New York. Their level of dedication and talent, however, is without question.

The Capital Region has consistently produced some of the strongest players in upstate New York, but this is a special class, Empire State Takeover founder and director Jeff Mlinar said. Theyve all put in a ridiculous amount of work to get where they are.

All of them have been through the travel ball route and participated in Empire State Takeover activities that include league play and college showcase events. Family genetics and a large dose of family support, Mlinar noted, played a part in those Division I scholarships, too.

It shows that there are a lot of hard workers in the area, Lilly Phillips said of Section IIs Division I-bound class. It shows that our age group really loves basketball.

I think we started young and had a passion for basketball to get where we are now, Fontenelle-Posson said.

Mlinar said more Division I talent from Section II is on the way.

More girls are going to the scholarship level, said Mlinar, who will be entering his seventh year working with upstate girls. We will have another solid class next year and another one in 2023. We are trending in the right direction and I think well continue to do that. Some classes will be bigger than others.

Rhaymi Porter of Scotia, who will play at Division I Canisius after her 2021 graduation from Wilbraham & Monson Academy in Massachusetts, is another product of the Empire State Takeover program and the travel ball circuit.

There are more opportunities for girls to be in the gym, and develop and be seen, Mlinar said. A big point is they are getting the opportunity to do it at a younger age.

This class has been blessed to have the opportunities weve had, said Fontenelle-Posson, who joined the City Rocks AAU program when she was in third grade. Forty or 50 years ago, they didnt have that.

Shenendehowa was one of Section IIs first schools to reap the rewards of a strong youth program in terms of wins and championships on the court, and Divison I college scholarships to the player that made it happen, some of the earliest being 1988 graduate Wendy Czelusniak (New Mexico State), and 1990 twin graduates Laura and Debbie Barnes (Richmond).

Several more Division I players followed during the Strube era including Jen Scanlon (1992, Duke), who, like Debbie Barnes, earned the New York Miss Basketball award during her senior year. State career scoring leader Caryn Schoff of St. Johnsville (1995, Syracuse) and Carolyn Gottstein of Albany (2000, Boston College) would later garner that award, as well.

We had a ridiculous youth feeder program, said Strube, who won four state titles and 10 Section II championships in his coaching run at Shenendehowa from 1979-2012. The cool thing was the dads didnt just focus on their daughters. They developed the whole program, and I got the credit.

When I started out, they didnt start until high school, Pugliese said of his early groups at Draper. Theyre playing in third and fourth grade now.

I just think if you look at the 80s and 90s, girls sports started to evolve, Neely said. There are so many opportunities for female athletes in so many sports.

In more recent years, single-sport specialization has become more common among female athletes, weight rooms have became more available and personal trainers and coaches have became more prevalent.

Everything plays a role, Mlinar said.

Increased exposure of different kinds has also aided both players and college coaches in the recruiting process.

I remember when [former Daily Gazette sports editor] Butch Walker asked me if I wanted to cover a Bishop Gibbons girls basketball game. We had never done that before, said Bill Buell, a Gazette sportswriter from 1978 through 2002. The rest is history. A few years later, we put out our first Gazette All-Area girls basketball team.

Buell covered that initial girls game during the 1983-84 season, three years after the first NCAA Division I womens basketball tournament was staged, and a decade after Ann Meyers became the first female basketball player in the United States to get a four-year athletic scholarship from UCLA.

We always had a few good players, Buell said of his early years with the newspaper. The mindset was different then. Most girls didnt think about getting Division I scholarships.

Buell said star players such as Shawn Shafer, who went from Bishop Gibbons to Siena in 1986, Tanya Hansen, who went from Albany to Rutgers in 1988, and Anita Kaplan, who went from Bethlehem to Stanford in 1991, helped change that thought process.

Kaplan was in the national spotlight her freshman season when she played a role in Stanfords NCAA Division I championship. (That team, of course, was coached by Schenectady County native and all-time womens college basketball wins leader Tara VanDerveer, who struggled to find girls teams to play for in her youth.)

Once those girls started getting some publicity, others thought, We can do that, too,' Buell said. This avenue is open to me.'

Chudy saw youngsters flock to 2020 graduate Dolly Cairns, Saratoga Springs career points leader who is playing at Rhode Island, and 2019 grad Kerry Flaherty, who is competing at Holy Cross.

The neat part is watching the younger kids who want to emulate them, said Robin Chudy, whose team includes her daughter, sophomore Natasha Chudy one of Section IIs rising stars.

Fontenelle-Posson knows younger eyes are on her, as her own were on 2018 Niskayuna graduate Olivia Owens, who is currently playing at Kentucky after spending time with the Maryland program.

I watched her for a long time and still keep tabs on how she is doing, Fontenelle-Posson said. Its a cycle. Now its my turn to try to set an example so the younger girls can see what can happen with hard work.

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Big rewards for Section II girls as basketball avenues increase - The Daily Gazette

2021 in books: what to look forward to this year – The Guardian

January

4 Winners of five Costa category awards announced.8 The Father released Florian Zeller directs an adaptation of his own play, starring Anthony Hopkins.11 TS Eliot prize for poetry.19 Centenary of the birth of Patricia Highsmith, queen of psychological suspense.22 Netflix adaptation of Aravind Adigas Booker winner The White Tiger.Release of film Chaos Walking, based on first book of Patrick Nesss eponymous trilogy.26 Costa awards ceremony, with book of the year announced.

Fiction

Luster by Raven Leilani (Picador)In the years buzziest debut, a black American millennial tackles the difficulties of work, love, sex and being seen for who you really are.

The Living Sea of Waking Dreams by Richard Flanagan (Chatto & Windus)A family grapples with mortality while Australia burns, in a magical realist fable about extinction and Anthropocene despair from the Booker-winning author of The Narrow Road to the Deep North.

Memorial by Bryan Washington (Atlantic)His story collection Lot won last years Dylan Thomas prize; this deft debut novel explores the complications of family and a gay relationship on the rocks.

A Burning by Megha Majumdar (Scribner)Three lives entangle in contemporary India, in a debut about class and aspiration that has been a sensation in the US.

The Art of Falling by Danielle McLaughlin (John Murray)Debut novel about a woman rebuilding her marriage, from the celebrated Irish short story writer.

A River Called Time by Courttia Newland (Canongate)Ambitious speculative epic set in an alternate London where slavery and colonialism never happened.

People Like Her by Ellery Lloyd (Mantle)Smart, gobble-at-a-sitting thriller about life as a yummy mummy influencer and the dark side of Instagram.

Girl A by Abigail Dean (HarperCollins)Incendiary, beautifully written thriller debut about siblings living with the emotional legacy of childhood abuse in a House of Horrors.

The Stranger Times by CK McDonnell (Bantam)Pratchettesque romp set around a Manchester newspaper dedicated to the paranormal whose reporters get sucked into a battle between good and evil.

Childrens and teen

Amari and the Night Brothers by BB Alston (Egmont)Film rights have been snapped up for the first in a new supernatural adventure series with a black heroine.

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas (Walker)From the US YA sensation, this hard-hitting prequel to the award-winning The Hate U Give focuses on Starrs father as a young man.

Poetry

Living Weapon by Rowan Ricardo Phillips (Faber)The award-winning American essayist and poets first collection to be published in the UK combines civic awareness with an interrogation of language and self.

Nonfiction

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders (Bloomsbury)The Booker-winning author of Lincoln in the Bardo considers the art of fiction through seven classic Russian short stories by Chekhov, Turgenev, Tolstoy and Gogol.

Francis Bacon: Revelations by Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan (William Collins)A definitive biography, written with the full cooperation of the Bacon estate and with unrivalled access to the artists personal papers.

Begin Again: James Baldwins America by Eddie S Glaude Jr (Chatto & Windus)Exemplifying the resurgence of interest in Baldwin, this blend of biography, criticism and memoir with the novelist at its heart is an indictment of racial injustice in Trumps America.

Empireland: How Imperialism Has Shaped Modern Britain by Sathnam Sanghera (Viking)One of a new wave of books on British imperialism, this study, from the likable journalist and author of The Boy With the Topknot, looks at the legacy of empire from the NHS to Brexit and Covid.

Breathtaking: Inside the NHS in a Time of Pandemic by Rachel Clarke (Little, Brown)The palliative care doctor who scored a hit with her book Dear Life gives an insider account of hospital life as Covid-19 changed everything.

Saving Justice by James Comey (Macmillan)The former FBI director and author of A Higher Loyalty looks into how institutions of justice in the US were eroded during the Trump presidency.

The Unusual Suspect by Ben Machell (Canongate)The remarkable story of how a British student with Aspergers became obsessed with Robin Hood following the global financial crash, and began to rob banks.

4 Centenary of the birth of Betty Friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique.23 Bicentenary of the death of John Keats in Rome.

Fiction

Light Perpetual by Francis Spufford (Faber)The author of Golden Hill imagines the lost futures of children killed in the blitz, in a sparkling, humane panorama of miraculous everyday life.

No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood (Bloomsbury)Following her acclaimed comic memoir Priestdaddy, a fast and furious debut novel about being embedded deep in the digital world.

Mother for Dinner by Shalom Auslander (Picador)Outrageous comedy about identity politics and family ties centred on the Cannibal-American Seltzer clan.

We Are Not in the World by Conor OCallaghan (Transworld)Delayed from 2020, the examination of a father-daughter relationship by a rising Irish star.

Maxwells Demon by Steven Hall (Canongate)Long-awaited follow-up to ultra-inventive cult hit The Raw Shark Texts features a man being stalked by a fictional character.

Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson (Viking)Black British artists fall in love in an intense, elegant debut.

Voices of the Lost by Hoda Barakat, translated by Marilyn Booth (Oneworld)In a war-torn country, six characters share their secrets, in this international prize for Arabic fiction winner.

Childrens and teen

How to Change Everything by Naomi Klein with Rebecca Stefoff (Penguin)A guide to climate change billed as the young humans guide to protecting the planet and each other.

Nonfiction

Fall by John Preston (Viking)The author of A Very English Scandal turns his attention to the last days of disgraced media tycoon Robert Maxwell.

What Does Jeremy Think? by Suzanne Heywood (William Collins)A set of revealing insider political accounts, written up by the author after conversations with her husband, the former cabinet secretary Lord Heywood, who died of cancer aged 56 in 2018.

Consent: A Memoir by Vanessa Springora, translated by Natasha Lehrer (HarperCollins)The memoir, by the director of one of Frances leading publishing houses, of her sexual relationship as a teenager with a leading writer.

Bessie Smith by Jackie Kay (Faber)The national poet of Scotland has written a new introduction to her study of the American blues singer, whom she idolised as a young black girl growing up in Glasgow.

Keats by Lucasta Miller (Cape)A new biography in nine poems and an epitaph by the author of The Bront Myth, to coincide with the bicentenary of the poets death.

Brown Baby by Nikesh Shukla (Bluebird) A memoir from the Bristol-based editor of The Good Immigrant, which is also an exploration of how to raise a brown baby in an increasingly horrible world.

Karachi Vice by Samira Shackle (Granta) An impressive account of the inner workings of the Pakistani city, as exposed by the stories of five individuals.

The Code Breaker by Walter Isaacson (Simon & Schuster)The biographer of Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs returns with a book about Crispr, the revolutionary tool that can edit DNA.

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates (Allen Lane)The co-founder of Microsoft discusses the tools needed to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Raceless by Georgina Lawton (Sphere)Reflections on identity along with recollections of growing up as a mixed-race girl raised by two white parents who pursued the untruth that the authors darker skin was the product of a so-called throwback gene.

Aftershocks by Nadia Owusu (Sceptre)A descendant of Ashanti royalty recounts growing up without a mother, travelling from country to country and feeling an absence of home her experience told through the metaphor of earthquakes.

19 Bicentenary of the birth of the explorer, linguist and author Richard Burton, who translated The One Thousand and One Nights and the Kama Sutra into English.

Fiction

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro (Faber)An Artificial Friend considers humanity and the meaning of love in Ishiguros first novel since winning the Nobel literature prize.

Double Blind by Edward St Aubyn (Harvill Secker)The author of the Patrick Melrose books investigates themes of inheritance, knowledge and freedom through the connections between three friends over one tumultuous year.

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi (Viking)This follow-up to her debut Homegoing, focusing on an immigrant Ghanaian family in the American South, has been a huge hit in the US.

Painting Time by Maylis de Kerangal, translated by Jessica Moore (MacLehose)The French author took the Wellcome science prize for her bravura novel about a heart transplant, Mend the Living; this new book is set in the world of trompe lil painting.

Hot Stew by Fiona Mozley (John Murray)Her debut Elmet made the Booker shortlist; this followup tackles money and class through the inhabitants of Londons Soho.

Kitchenly 434 by Alan Warner (White Rabbit)The Sopranos authors tale of a rock stars butler at the fag end of the 1970s promises to be Remains of the Day with cocaine and amplifiers.

The Committed by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Corsair)In the sequel to Pulitzer winner The Sympathizer, that novels conflicted spy finds himself in the underworld of 80s Paris.

The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox (Michael Joseph)From the New Zealand writer, a propulsive parallel-worlds fantasy epic about the power of stories and storytelling.

The Mysterious Correspondent by Marcel Proust, translated by Charlotte Mandell (Oneworld)Nine previously unseen stories illuminate a young writers development.

Names of the Women by Jeet Thayil (Cape)From Mary of Magdala to Susanna the Barren, women whose stories were suppressed in the New Testament.

Redder Days by Sue Rainsford (Doubleday)Twins in an abandoned commune prepare for apocalypse, in the follow-up to her standout debut Follow Me to Ground.

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward (Viper)A woman believes she has found the monster who snatched her younger sister as a child Full of twists and turns, this high-concept gothic horror is going to be huge.

Childrens and teen

The Wild Before by Piers Torday (Quercus)Can one hare change the world? A prequel to the Guardian prize-winning The Last Wild.

Poetry

Too Young, Too Loud, Too Different, edited by Maisie Lawrence and Rishi Dastidar (Corsair)An anthology celebrating 20 years of writers collective Malikas Poetry Kitchen, featuring work by now well-known alumni including Warsan Shire, Inua Ellams, Roger Robinson and Malika Booker herself.

Nonfiction

Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson (Allen Lane)Having spent a year in rehab, the controversial Canadian psychologist, self-styled professor against political correctness follows up his global bestseller 12 Rules for Life.

Under a White Sky by Elizabeth Kolbert (Bodley Head)The Pulitzer prize-winning writer of The Sixth Extinction meets scientists and researchers and asks: can we change nature, this time to save it?

The Soul of a Woman: Rebel Girls, Impatient Love, and Long Life by Isabel Allende (Bloomsbury)An autobiographical meditation from the bestselling novelist on feminism and what women want.

New Yorkers by Craig Taylor (John Murray) The sequel to Taylors bestselling Londoners is another work of oral history, 10 years in the writing and drawing on hundreds of interviews.

The Diaries of Chips Channon, Volume 1: 1918-1938 edited by Simon Heffer (Hutchinson)The unexpurgated version of the often-quoted diaries of Henry Channon, social climber and Tory MP, who liked to gossip about politics and London society.

A Little Devil in America by Hanif Abdurraqib (Allen Lane)From Josephine Baker to Beyonc reflections on black performance from the author of a superb book on A Tribe Called Quest.

Inventory of a Life Mislaid by Marina Warner (William Collins)A memoir from the writer known for her books on feminism, myth and fairytales, which is structured around objects, from her mothers wedding ring to a 1952 film cylinder.

Friends by Robin Dunbar (Little, Brown)An exploration of friendship by the anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist known for the Dunbar Number, his theory that we can have meaningful relationships with only 150 people.

The Gun, the Ship and the Pen by Linda Colley (Profile) The historian best known for Britons retells modern history by considering the spread of written constitutions.

Failures of State by Jonathan Calvert and George Arbuthnot (Mudlark) Investigative journalists explore all the things the British government got wrong over Covid.

9 Bicentenary of the birth of the influential French poet, translator and critic Charles Baudelaire, author of Les Fleurs du Mal.

Fiction

Lean Fall Stand by Jon McGregor (4th Estate)An inquiry into the meaning of courage in the aftermath of a disastrous Antarctic research expedition, following the Costa-winning Reservoir 13.

My Phantoms by Gwendoline Riley (Granta)Fearless, darkly witty novel anatomising a toxic mother-daughter relationship.

Civilisations by Laurent Binet, translated by Sam Taylor (Harvill Secker)A counterfactual history of the modern world from the author of HHhH, examining the urge for power across time and space.

The High House by Jessie Greengrass (Swift)Sight was shortlisted for the Womens prize in 2018; in Greengrasss second novel, an ordinary family prepares for climate catastrophe.

This One Sky Day by Leone Ross (Faber)Set on a magical archipelago, a big, carnivalesque novel that takes on desire, addiction and postcolonialism, but is also a celebration of food, love and joy.

First Person Singular by Haruki Murakami, translated by Philip Gabriel (Harvill Secker)A new collection of eight stories that play with the boundary between memoir and fiction.

Hummingbird Salamander by Jeff VanderMeer (4th Estate)A climate change conspiracy thriller about ecoterrorism and extinction.

The Republic of False Truths by Alaa Al Aswany (Faber)A polyphonic novel about the 2011 Egyptian revolution.

Male Tears by Benjamin Myers (Bloomsbury)Farmers, boxers, ex-cons Short stories about men and masculinity.

Monsters by Barry Windsor-Smith (Cape)The US army runs a secret genetics programme in this epic graphic novel from the Marvel and Conan artist, 35 years in the making.

You Love Me by Caroline Kepnes (Simon & Schuster) The latest in the thriller series behind Netflix stalker blockbuster You.

Childrens and teen

Weirdo by Zadie Smith and Nick Laird, illustrated by Magenta Fox (Puffin)This first picture book from the husband and wife writers celebrates the quiet power of being different through the story of a guinea pig in a judo suit.

Bone Music by David Almond (Hodder)The Skellig authors new novel focuses on a young girl who moves from Newcastle to rural Northumberland and finds herself rewilded.

Poetry

A God at the Door by Tishani Doshi (Bloodaxe)The witty, wise and clear-eyed novelist, dancer and poet deploys both rage and sharp analysis covering issues from the precarious state of the environment to the treatment of women.

A Blood Condition by Kayo Chingonyi (Chatto & Windus)The second collection from the Dylan Thomas prize-winner explores both the personal and cultural influences of inheritance.

Nonfiction

Philip Roth: The Biography by Blake Bailey (Jonathan Cape)Renowned biographer Bailey was appointed by the American novelist, who died in 2018, and granted independence and complete access to the archive.

Go Big: How To Fix Our World by Ed Miliband (Bodley Head)Inspired by his Reasons to be Cheerful podcast, the shadow cabinet member investigates 20 transformative solutions to problems as intractable as inequality and the climate crisis.

How to Love Animals in a Human-Shaped World by Henry Mance (Jonathan Cape)Tapping into new thinking about animals and our changing perception of them, the FT journalist works in an abattoir, talks to chefs and philosophers and looks to a better future.

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2021 in books: what to look forward to this year - The Guardian

Sex, Genetics, and the Relationship Between the Two in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension – AJMC.com Managed Markets Network

Although research has cemented BMPR2 mutations as having associations with the development of pulmonary arterial hypertension, the germline mutations are not the only culprit.

Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a multifaceted condition, consisting of interactions between estrogens, estrogen metabolites, and BMPR2 signaling, according to new research.

Although research has cemented BMPR2 mutations as having associations with the development of PAH, the germline mutations are not the only culprit, say the researchers, who argue that other, additional genetic and environmental factors play a role. Mutations in several components of the BMPR2 signaling pathway have also been linked to the development of PAH, including ALK1, SMAD8, BMP9, and CAV1.

Despite the strong association between BMPR2 mutations and the development of PAH, and despite the high frequency of BMPR2 mutations in heritable PAH, having a BMPR2 mutation alone is not sufficient; heterozygous carriers of deleterious BMPR2 mutations only have an approximately 20% lifetime risk of disease penetrance, explained the researchers. Decades of investigation have revealed that there are likely multiple genetic and environmental second hits that may be necessary to spur PAH development in the setting of a deleterious BMPR2 mutation.

The intricacies of PAH can be highlighted by the role estrogen and estrogen metabolites play in the condition. For example, some animal models have suggested that the 2 protect against PH in the presence of other provoking factors while human studies have suggested that female predominance actually heightens the risk of PAH. And while females who carry deleterious BMPR2 variants are more likely to develop PAH, they are less likely to have severe disease than men.

However, the researchers argue that the role of estrogen and estrogen metabolites does not paint a full picture of the sex differences in PAH. These differences include those in right ventricular (RV) adaption to chronic pulmonary hypertension, with some research suggests that females might have better RV function than males. According to the researchers, other sex-driven differences, like testosterone and progesterone and nonhormonal sex effects, may contribute to the impact of sex.

Similar to the BMPR2 signaling cascade, essential components of estrogen signaling pathways are expressed in the [endothelial cells], vascular [smooth muscle cells], and fibroblasts responsible for vascular remodeling and the development of PAH, wrote the researchers, noting that estrone, estradiol, and estriol, along with their metabolites signal through estrogen receptors ER and ER and the newly discovered G-protein-coupled receptor.

In their paper, the researchers look at the relationship between estrogen and BMPR2, writing that there have been inclinations that baseline BMPR2 expression and signaling may be reduced in females. They suggest that this deficiency in BMPR2 expression may be that second hit to spur the development of PAH. However, they caveat that the relationship between estrogen and BMPR2 is complex and may be dependent on several factors, such as age, menopausal status, cell type studied, and dose responses and time courses.

Reference

Cirulis MM, Dodson MW, Brown LM, Brown SM, Lahm T, Elliot G. At the X-roads of sex and genetics in pulmonary arterial hypertension. Genes (Basel). Published online November 20, 2020. doi:10.3390/genes11111371

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Sex, Genetics, and the Relationship Between the Two in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension - AJMC.com Managed Markets Network

What Is the Average Shoe Size for Women? Its Bigger Than You Might Think – Footwear News

Did you know that you can estimate a persons height based on their foot size? If you wore a size womens 5, you would be approximately 4-feet-9. But how big, on average, is a womens foot size?

CREDIT: Amazon

The most common foot size for the average American female is somewhere between an 8.5 and a 9, which might surprise some people since in the 1970s the average foot size used to be 7.5 until only recently.

According to a report done by the National Shoe Retailers in 2012, the average womans foot has grown by more than a size over the last three decades.

So, why are our feet getting bigger?

On average, Americans are getting taller and heavier, which causes an increase of the size of their feet in proportion to their bodies. Taller women in general seem to have larger feet than shorter women, since their bodies require additional support to balance.

Related

A lot of our shoe sizes differ based on genetics and environment. Our feet can expand as we age and they begin to lose their elasticity. Womens shoe sizes can also switch during pregnancy or menopause. It is recommended you measure your feet occasionally even if you think you know your shoe size as it may change.

According to the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society, 88% of women wear the wrong shoe size. This is likely due to improper fitting, lack of knowing their real shoe size and settling for a shoe that fits well enough.

To determine your own shoe size, its best to measure your feet at the end of the day after youve been walking because walking can slightly increase the size of your feet. Its suggested that you measure your feet wearing the socks or stockings that you will wear in the shoes you plan to purchase.

Even though on average womens feet are between 8.5 and 9, the most commonly sold shoe size is a 7, but just because this is the size that most women purchase does not mean that they are wearing the correct size.

While women may have felt ashamed of their larger foot sizes in the past, recent footwear trends have grown to embrace bigger feet. In fact, some big celebrity names have large feet, including Kate Winslet (shoe size 11) and Rhianna (size 9).

Many shoe retailers have accommodated to the increase in foot size, switching to designing larger and wider shoe sizes.

Smallest Woman Alive: Jyoti Amge

CREDIT: Courtesy of Guinness World Records

Currently, the smallest woman alive is Indian Actress Jyoti Amge. Amge stands at only 2 feet and three-quarters inches and her feet only measure 3.72-inches long, which is a toddler size 2 in the U.S. She was officially declared the worlds smallest woman by the Guinness World Records in 2011. Amge has starred in both American Horror Story and the Indian television show Bigg Boss 6.

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What Is the Average Shoe Size for Women? Its Bigger Than You Might Think - Footwear News

‘Keep calm and develop vaccines’: Meet the scientists behind the Oxford jab – Telegraph.co.uk

The Oxford team is led by Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at the universitys Jenner institute. She has hailed thefirst authorisation of use of the vaccine outside clinical trialsas aday for the team developing the vaccine to celebrate, after a year of extremely hard work under difficult circumstances. Although in the same sentence she struck a typically cautionary note: We still have more to do

Even after their vaccine has become just the third in the world to be granted regulatory approval (following the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines), nobody could accuse the Oxford researchers of being swept away in the hype. Indeed Gilbert and others in her team have spoken openly about how little they have enjoyed the constant attention over the past year, preferring instead to focus on their life-saving work.

During that time, lucrative offers for after dinner speaking gigs have started to roll in for Gilbert, which she has rejected in turn. Another key member of the Oxford group, Professor Catherine Green, who heads the universitys clinical biomanufacturing facility, recently described the media attention as awful. Of their new-found fame, she added: Its not something that we got into our careers to do.

The motivations of the Oxford team can instead be neatly surmised by a mug that Gilbert keeps in her office at the Jenner Institute, which says: Keep calm and develop vaccines. It is a mantra that has served her and her colleagues well this year, juggling the exhaustion of constant work with family life.Gilbert, after all, is the mother of 21-year-old triplets (biochemistry students at Oxford and Bath Universities) who took part in the phase 1 clinical trials of the vaccine. Her regime has involved getting up at about 4am each day, cycling to the laboratory and returning home at about 8pm.

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'Keep calm and develop vaccines': Meet the scientists behind the Oxford jab - Telegraph.co.uk

IAEA Highlights and Achievements in 2020 a Year in Review | IAEA – International Atomic Energy Agency

A new global initiative will use nuclear science to better manage pandemic threats, such as COVID-19.

In February, the IAEA and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) pledged to increase collaboration to tackle cervical cancer, especially to help low- and middle- income countries, where 85 per cent of annual cervical cancer deaths occur.

The IAEA and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) joined forces in April to better protect human health and global ecosystems from sustained releases of mercury and its toxic derivative compounds into the environment.

In June, the IAEA launched the Zoonotic Disease Integrated Action (ZODIAC) project, an initiative to support countries inpreventing and quickly responding to future outbreaks of diseases that spread from animals to humans. ZODIAC will expand and make globalthe VETLAB network, through which veterinary labs exchange information, share best practices and support each other.

This year, the Renovation of the Nuclear Applications Laboratories (ReNuAL) project achieved important milestones. In June, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi opened a state of the art laboratory building named after his late predecessor, Yukiya Amano. The new facility will increase the IAEAs capacity to assist countries to fight and prevent transboundary animal and zoonotic diseases like COVID-19 and to tackle challenges related to climate change and food safety.

In September, Mr Grossi announced to Member States ReNuAL 2, a new effort to tackle the laboratories that have not yet been modernized under the ReNuAL Project. This includes the construction of a new building to house the Plant Breeding and Genetics Laboratory, the Terrestrial Environment Laboratory and the Nuclear Sciences and Instrumentation Laboratory. To achieve ReNuAL 2, the IAEA is calling for the mobilisation of 14.8 million by mid-2021.

The Biological Dosimetry Model Laboratory (BDML) was established at the IAEA Seibersdorf site. A new advanced microscope-based platform capable of identifying and quantifying radiation exposure in people was donated to the IAEA and installed at the BDML.

The IAEA designated three new collaborating centres: in the United Kingdom, Italy and Portugal.

In November, the International Conference on Molecular Imaging and Clinical PET-CT in the Era of Theranostics (IPET-2020)highlighted important clinical aspects and appropriate use of medical imaging in the management of patients with breast, lung, lymphoma, neuroendocrine tumours, paediatric, prostate and thyroid cancers.

To mark the milestone of twenty-five years, 180 analytical experts from around the world shared knowledge and expertise and discussed new ways of expanding the Networks capacity at the annual Coordination Meeting of ALMERA. In addition, the Global Network of Isotopes in Precipitation (GNIP) turned sixty this year.

The IAEA has launched its updated Database on Industrial Irradiation Facilities (DIIF), featuring an interactive map with information on nearly 300 gamma irradiators and electron accelerators from around the world.

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IAEA Highlights and Achievements in 2020 a Year in Review | IAEA - International Atomic Energy Agency

New Year honours 2020: citizens awarded for response to pandemic crisis – The Guardian

Hundreds of key workers and community champions who battled the pandemic have been recognised in the New Year honours list for the UK which celebrates peoples extraordinary response to the Covid-19 crisis.

Lewis Hamilton, the Formula One driver, and the cinematographer Roger Deakins are among the celebrities knighted, while the architect David Chipperfield gets the Companion of Honour. The actor Toby Jones and Jed Mercurio, creator of the TV series Line of Duty, are given OBEs for services to drama. On being made a dame for services to drama the actor Sheila Hancock said she feared she was slightly miscast.

Nina Wadia, who performed in the BBC soap EastEnders, and Sally Dynevor, a stalwart of ITVs Coronation Street series, also received honours an OBE for Wadia, and MBE for Dynevor. The music producer and DJ Craig David is recognised with an MBE.

Among the political figures honoured are Geoffrey Cox, the ToryMP for Torridge and West Devon, who becomes a knight, while Labours Angela Eagle, who became MP for Wallasey in 1992, is made a dame for parliamentary and political service.

But while many of this years 1,239 award recipients have names that few would recognise, none would argue with the decision to honour their sacrifice and commitment in a year that truly tested the resolve and determination of those on the frontline.

Public sector workers, including medics, teachers, local government workers, police officers and firefighters, make up 15% of the list, recognised for making a huge individual impact.

Among the 123 health and social care workers honoured is 62-year-old Cath Fitzsimmons, from Eccles, a former palliative care nurse who came out of retirement when the pandemic struck. She described the struggle with trying to help patients without being able to hug them in the most difficult moments, and learning to smile with her eyes. She gets a BEM (British empire medal). Prof Farah Bhatti, 55, the first female consultant cardiac surgeon in Wales, receives an OBE.

Also honoured are people who have helped NHS staff. They include Emma Henderson, the airline pilotwho co-founded Project Wingman, creating first-class lounges in 80 hospitals for exhausted workers; she receives an MBE.

An OBE goes to 28-year-old Azeem Alam, a doctor, who provides, with a team, free medical education through BiteMedicine; and an MBE goes to deputy director of nursing Jacky Copping, 55, for initiating safety procedures for fitting personal protection equipment (PPE) at the James Paget University hospitals NHS foundation trust.

Recalling the early days of the pandemic, when UK supplies of PPE were low, an OBE has been awarded to Katherine Dawson, founder of the garment business All-in-One Company, for setting up 120 Scrub Hubs to make uniforms. And Manoj Varsani, founder of the property management tool Hammock, was made an MBE for setting up the voluntary organisation SOS Supplies to help provide more PPE.

Scientists also feature in the 2020 list, with Prof Wendy Bickmore, head of the University of Edinburghs MRC Human Genetics Unit, given a CBE, and Prof Wendy Burn, former president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, getting the same honour for predicting the mental health impact of the pandemic. Phillippa Spencer, senior principal statistician at the Defence Science and Technology laboratory, at Porton Down, is made an OBE for services to defence during the crisis.

Prof David Stuart, a structural biologist at Oxford University, who has spent his career studying the nature of viruses, has been given a knighthood, and forensic psychologist Prof Laurence Alison, director of the Centre for Critical and Major Incident Psychology, at Liverpool University, was made an MBE for his work, which he said he did for the love of doing it and because it provides purpose.

Ocados chief executive, Mel Smith, is made a CBE for services to the food supply chain during the pandemic, and Kate Nicholls, chief executive of industry body UKHospitality, becomes an OBE for speaking up for the embattled hospitality industry.

Community champions feature heavily in the 2020 honours list, some with extraordinary stories. Nadeem Sadiq Khan, a 40-year-old housing adviser for the charity Shelter is given a BEM, after continuing to help homeless people using his laptop on a Lahore rooftop after being unable to return to the UK after visiting Pakistan early in March.

Mark Owen, 57, a retired police officer from Llanynys, Clwyd, is given an MBE for coming out of retirement to lead the volunteer response to Covid-19 across north Wales.

Caroline Halfhide, 51, from Ash, Somerset, receives an MBE for changing her pub in to a village shop, while Jennifer Sims, 76, receives a BEM for providing hot meals and free bags of food to vulnerable people during the pandemic.

Women represent 49% of the total honours, while 14.2% come from a BAME background; 6.9% have a disability and 4% identify as being LGBT.

Among the diversity champions is Karen McDowell, 46, station commander at Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service, given an MBE for, among other work, building support networks for employees transitioning their gender. And Khakan Munir Qureshi, a senior independent living officer for Midland Heart, is given an MBE for services to LGBT equality.

Organisers said there were no plans to remove the words British empire from the honours system, despite critics saying that it glorified Britains colonial past and that there are increasing number of recipients choosing to turn down the honour.

Both old and young are recognised in the 2020 honours list. The eldest is Anne Baker, 106, from Salisbury, Wiltshire, who receives an MBE for fundraising for the NSPCC. And 104-year-old Ruth Saunders gets an MBE for walking a marathon to raise money for Thames Valley Air Ambulance.

At the younger end of the age scale, 20-year-old Samah Khalil, the youth mayor for Oldham, receives a BEM for working to empower young people.

Boris Johnson said the outstanding efforts of those who had received honours was a a welcome reminder of the strength of human spirit, and of what can be achieved through courage and compassion.

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New Year honours 2020: citizens awarded for response to pandemic crisis - The Guardian

St. Paul authors Fossil Men is a tale of discovery thats anything but old and dry – TwinCities.com-Pioneer Press

In Ethiopias hot Afar region, Kermit Pattison watched with amazement as a fossil hunter spotted a quarter of a tooth the size of a pea in the middle of a dry field with little vegetation.

I dont know how he recognized it as a tooth, Pattison said. Finding this stuff on the ground takes a lot of skill. I followed these guys when we were walking and tried to see things on the ground. I turned out to be really bad at it. Some are really, really good. You dont just find a nice skeleton.

A nice skeleton, a very old one, was the reason Pattison lived with a fossil-hunting team in Ethiopia for several weeks in 2013 and 2016.

Pattison, a former Pioneer Press reporter who lives in St. Paul, was researching his first book, Fossil Men: The Quest for the Oldest Skeleton and the Origins of Humankind (Morrow, $32.50).

The story begins in 1994, in a valley near the Awash river, when an Ethiopian graduate student named Yohannes Haile-Selassie found a tiny bone that is located below the pointer finger. It was the first of 110 pieces of a 4.4 million-year-old female skeleton the Middle Awash team of fossil hunters classified as Ardipithecus ramidus, nicknamed Ardi.

Ardi was 1.2 million years older than Lucy, the famous skeleton found in 1974 by Donald Johanson in Ethiopia, making her the oldest skeleton of a human ancestor found up to that time. (Pattison points out that Ardi is no longer the oldest species in the human family but she remains the oldest skeleton. There are now three older named species, but theyre represented by only fragmentary fossils.)

When Ardi was finally introduced to the public in 2009, she rocked the world of those who study human evolution. Pattison calls her an inconvenient woman.

Ardi had parts that were missing from Lucys skeleton. Hers was a time in human history that was entirely blank and she filled that gap, Pattison said. What made Ardi unique is that her anatomy had a weird hodge-podge of features never before seen in that combination. She was a transitional creature, climbing with grasping feet but walking upright in a weird way. This combination of arboreal and bipedal features had never been seen before.

As the discovery team later reported, Ardi was so rife with anatomical surprises that no one could have imagined it without direct fossil evidence.

Fossil Men is not only about old bones. Its a fascinating and sometimes exciting story thats praised by critics in national publications, which makes Pattison happy because he had no idea if his book would get any attention. Kirkus Reviews gave the book a starred review and Science News picked it for the list of favorite books of 2020. The New York Times said: Despite ample opportunity, Fossil Men never devolves into gonzo journalism. This is a function of Pattisons uncanny ability to write evocatively about science. In this, he is every bit as good as the best scientist-writers. He describes the intricacies of the human wrist and foot with the skill of a poet. He breezes through the biomechanics of how chimps clamber and humans walk. The Christian Science Monitor was enthusiastic, saying that In his recounting of the characters and science involved in Ardis discovery and the controversies that followed it, Pattison reveals the imperfect, all-too-human nature of science itself.(weaving) the multiple intrigues of science, politics, and personalities into a masterly structured tale.

This is not the book Pattison set out to write. He certainly didnt expect to spend eight years researching and writing it. But everything about Ardis story grabbed his journalistic instincts.

I was going to write a tidy little book about the evolution of human locomotion with a bit of background, he recalls. The more I learned, the more intrigued I got. First, Ardi led to a lot of revelations that undermined conventional wisdom of where we came from that disturbed the world of science. Then there was the sheer drama of the search and discovery of this skeleton, a story that was still mostly untold. There was the teams difficulty working in the field during a civil war, and tribal conflicts in which people were literally being killed. That was eye-opening. It made me realize there was a lot more behind the science. So was the academic politics a revelation. I realized I should abandon the original idea and focus on Ardis story.

Pattison ended up with a 420-page hardcover with a text complemented by maps, photos, drawings of skeletal parts and skeletons, and timelines. He combines the history of theories of when humans split from our ape relatives, explanations of which bones are important to researchers and why (with Ardi it was hands and feet), how the fossil hunters searched for tiny bone fragments in the desert where it can hit 100 degrees. Then there are the rivalries between these scientists with big egos. They argued about the meaning of the bones, which teams would get funded by the National Science Foundation, and who would be given access to fossil-rich turf controlled by the constantly changing attitudes of the Ethiopian government.

Pattisons biggest challenge was understanding science well enough to converse intelligently with the scientists, which meant he had to spend years learning about the disciplines of (take a breath): anthropology, paleoanthropology, paleontology, anatomy, osteology (study of the structure and function of the skeleton and bony structures), genetics, taxonomy, geology, stratigraphy (branch of geology concerned with the structure of a particular set of strata), primatology, and archeology.

After he absorbed all that knowledge, Pattison says he had to disengage and write in a way that an intelligent lay person could read and comprehend. I had to span two worlds; making it a faithful look at science through a lens accessible to everyday readers.

Many of his questions were answered by paleoanthropologist Tim White, one of the prominent characters in the book. An internationally-known fossil hunter, White gave Pattison permission to visit the teams digs after getting approval from his three Ethiopian co-leaders. When Pattison began his research, White didnt even want to meet with him. But like a good reporter, Pattison persisted until they finally got together in Whites office at the University of California, Berkeley. Pattison describes White as having a reputation for a razor intellect, hair-trigger bullshit detector, short temper, long list of discoveries and longer list of enemies.

Pattison says his good relationship with White and other scientists happened gradually: I engaged them about science and they realized I was seriously interested in all the things they were interested in and had devoted their careers to. I sort of trickled into their lives a little at a time, like water under a door. And I was still there years later, asking questions, which I think surprised them.

Anyone who thinks bones are boring will be surprised at the people Pattison met along the way, including Afar tribesmen.

That was one aspect of the story I found fascinating, Pattison says. There was the Afar warrior Elema, who at first threatened the team because he wanted to show who was boss, then joined them as one of their most-trusted field workers. He was still there when Pattison visited 20 years later. And Gadi, a feared hunchback known as Zipperman because he was draped with zippers taken off the clothing of his victims. He, too, became a friend and protector of the team.

Pattison dedicated his book to his keen-eyed editor and wife, Maja Beckstrom, a former Pioneer Press reporter working as an associate producer at Minnesota Public Radio. Beckstrom pulled him back when he got too jargony and pointed out things that werent clear. The couple lives in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood with sons, Eli and Alistair, and daughter, Siri.

Pattison admits its a little surreal to finally have his book out in the world. You work on it for so long in isolation, nobody really knows what you are doing, he jokes. It took so many years, people wonder, Does this guy really have a job?

Fossil Men ends at the Ethiopian National Museum, Ardis final resting place. The museum stores so many unexamined fossils it will take years for scientists in many disciplines to pry out the meaning of all the bones.

Ardi, the strange creature who stood four feet high, is only another chapter in the ongoing search for human origins.

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St. Paul authors Fossil Men is a tale of discovery thats anything but old and dry - TwinCities.com-Pioneer Press

East Idaho ranchers find strength in unified bull auction – Post Register

FIRTH The annual Adams Connection Snake River Valley Genetics Bull Sale has evolved over five decades, but what remains constant is the continued commitment to raising high-quality Black Angus and Lim-Flex registered cattle.

The first sale was held in 1969 by Bob and Opal Adams in Leadore. Their son Chet and his wife Phyllis joined the sale in the mid-1970s. After the untimely death from a drowning accident of the elder Adams, Chet and Phyllis carried on the tradition and moved the sale to Blackfoot, near their Firth-area ranch.

In the years since, Chet and Phyllis labored to improve each years sale. Their commitment to integrity and raising top quality cattle became their main focus. Sadly, Phyllis passed away last year after a long battle with Alzheimers.

She was an integral part of the ranch and sale. Ours was a team effort. Her unwavering contribution and partnership is greatly missed, Chet said.

Eight years ago, the Arnold and Teresa Callison family of Rimrock Angus in Blackfoot and the Wade and Vicki Beckman family of Beckman Livestock in Roberts joined the Adams Connection Snake River Genetics Bull Sale.

The 2021 sale will be Wednesday March 3, beginning at 1 p.m., at the Blackfoot Livestock Auction Company at 93 Rich Lane. Producers can also bid online at LiveAuctionsTV. The sale attracts producers from around Idaho and surrounding states. Seventy-six Black Angus Bulls and 22 Lim-Flex Bulls will be sold. Lim-Flex bulls are a cross between a Limousin and a Red or Black Angus.

Until last fall, heifers and cows were sold during the annual sale in Blackfoot. Last October, Adams, Callison and Beckman started their first annual all-female sale called, The Gems of Idaho Female Sale, featuring 42 head of Lim-Flex and Black Angus open heifers, bred heifers and cows.

The 2021 sale will be held at the new Bonneville County Fairgrounds at 1542 East 73rd South in Idaho Falls on Saturday October 30th.

Our first female fall sale was a success. Cattle sold into seven states as well as locally, Adams said.

Each animal has behind him or her years of genetic improvement, which is proved out with DNA, ultrasound and performance testing, Adams said.

Technology has really changed the whole schematics of breeding and is another tool to help us. We put a lot of emphasis on performance and balanced expected progeny differences (EPD), including strong maternal values. As we continue to forge the genetic link, our goal is to breed sound cattle with a lot of capacity, length, good feet and udders, Adams said, and Beckman added, And with the access we have to artificial insemination, its unlimited in what genetics we can try, and we do.

Altogether the families represent about 150 years of experience in the seed stock livestock business. Each grew up on ranches, were in 4-H, FFA and Junior Angus shows.

We were all born and raised on ranches. We all work closely together and have the same philosophies of raising quality seed stock. They are all really good people to work with, Chet Adams said, and Arnold Callison added, We like cattle, and its a bad addiction that we cant get out of.

The secret to their success is improved genetics which helps to improve the herds of the commercial cattle producer, along with an emphasis on personal integrity.

If a buyer has a problem with one of our bulls, we fix it. We take care of our customers, Adams said.

For more than 30 years, Adams was a teacher and administrator in schools in Firth, Alaska and Shelley. Along the way, he and Phyllis purchased neighboring ranches, expanding their land holdings and cow herd in East Idaho.

We lived on my principals salary, and put all the profit we made from the ranch back into it. Its something we enjoyed. We had a goal and we went after it, Adams said.

Callison worked on the Pat Goggins family's Vermillion Ranch in Billings for several years before returning to lease Adams ranch while the Adams were in Alaska. Today, hes the vice president and a loan officer at the Bank of Commerce in Blackfoot.

The Pat Goggins family's Vermillion Ranch is the largest Angus operation in the world and theyre great people, Callison said. Were still friends, and I picked up auctioneering from them too.

Each year, Callison volunteers his auctioneering talents to about 10 4-H and FFA auctions and about 25-35 community fundraisers like the annual Christmas Tree Fantasy in Blackfoot.

The opportunity to lease Chets place gave us a chance to come back here where Teresa and I are from. Weve always stayed close and have worked together quite a bit, he said. And auctioneering has been really fun, I really enjoy it.

Their children are activity involved in the cattle operation. Tiffany and Jered Hansen are in charge of marketing, Darrell and Jenny Callison help with the cattle, and have their own herd called Western Skies Angus. Mark and Charissa Callison are the computer experts, Callison said.

Our kids and grandkids have never been to Disneyland or Disney World, but they have been to every livestock show there is, Callison said. Our grandkids Angie and Conner are very active in the operation and our newest granddaughters, twins Maisy and Elaina will have the same opportunity.

The Beckmans have raised both commercial and registered cattle in the Roberts area and also raise cattle for 4-H and FFA exhibitors. In 1979 the Beckmans purchased their first Limousin bull and were so impressed they found themselves in the purebred industry, Wade said. In 2000, they incorporated Lim-Flex cattle into their operation.

The hybrid advantage is huge. These genetics have helped us to create the ultimate beef machine, the feeders and packers love them, Beckman said. This is something we take a lot of pride in. Were not high-end guys who dont know which end of the cow the hay goes in.

Wade currently serves on the board of the North American Limousin Foundation and his wife Vicki Beckman manages the day-to-day cattle operation along with their son Sedar. Sedar and his wife

Danna Beckman along with daughter Winston are partners in the operation. Sedar and Danna have degrees in Sustainable Agriculture from the University of Wyoming in Laramie, WY. Danna Beckman is the manager of the DL Evans Bank in Rigby.

Their daughter Devori has a masters degree in breeding and genetics from Colorado State University. Shes a co-manager of a Walmart store in Nebraska. Shes married to Dr. Matt Spangler, a professor of Animal Science and Beef Genetics Extension Specialist at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, NE., and along with their son Jack, contribute the latest genetic research to the ranch operation.

Chet and Phyllis dont have an heir to take over the family business. Their youngest son who was the most interested in ranching died in a plane crash in 2000. Their daughter, Lisa Adams lives in Boise and another son, Eric Adams, is a doctor of chiropractic medicine in Idaho Falls.

I love this business. I always have. Im not ready to quit yet, Chet Adams said, and Callison added, Wade and I are increasing our herds so that when Chet cuts down we can pick up a bit.

All three families look forward to the annual auction.

One of our favorite days of the year is sale day, Callison said. If I could work as hard as my wife Teresa, I could run two ranches on the side. Its enjoyable to be surrounded by family and visit with old friends, and we serve the best lunch and cookies in the land.

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East Idaho ranchers find strength in unified bull auction - Post Register

Burning sensation in lower abdomen: Causes and treatments – Medical News Today

People who experience a burning sensation in the lower abdomen may have a condition of the urological, gynecological, or digestive system.

Causes of a burning sensation in the lower abdomen may include gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), peptic ulcer disease (PUD), kidney stones, certain gynecological conditions, and cancer.

People should note that a burning sensation in the lower abdomen is not common. It is more common in the upper abdomen, where the pain is usually associated with GERD or PUD.

A burning sensation in the lower abdomen often comes with urination, which means that it may be a urinary tract infection (UTI). However, a UTI may not present with any abdominal pain. For females, there are multiple gynecological conditions associated with lower abdominal pain that might feel similar to burning.

There are other conditions that could be associated with a burning sensation in the lower abdomen. People should talk with a doctor about their symptoms.

Keep reading to learn more about the possible causes of a burning sensation in the lower abdomen, including any associated symptoms and how to treat them.

A burning sensation in the abdomen may be a symptom of GERD, which is a chronic condition affecting the digestive system. It is one of the most common digestive conditions in the United States.

Doctors can identify certain risk factors for developing GERD. For example, some people have motor anomalies that affect the movements of the esophagus. This can affect the ability of the esophagus to clear its contents.

Another possible risk factor is dysfunction of the lower esophageal sphincter, which can allow acidic stomach contents to rise up through the esophagus.

Aside from a burning sensation in the abdomen, people with GERD may experience:

Doctors may recommend several strategies to treat GERD, including certain lifestyle changes, medications, surgery, and endoluminal therapy.

They may first recommend the following self-care strategies:

It may also help to avoid the following potential trigger items, though the research into the effectiveness of avoiding them is limited:

Instead, a doctor may simply advise a person to avoid foods and beverages that they know worsen their symptoms.

Some medications that can help treat GERD include histamine blockers and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs).

For people with severe symptoms that do not respond to the above self-care strategies or medications, surgery or endoluminal therapy may be necessary.

People with PUD may also experience a burning sensation in the abdomen.

Doctors will diagnose PUD when the inner lining of the stomach, small intestine, or lower esophagus becomes compromised by stomach acid secretions or pepsin. This is an enzyme that breaks down protein.

Doctors have identified several factors that may cause PUD, including:

Smoking may also play a role in intestinal ulcers, while alcohol consumption can irritate the stomach and promote gastric acid release into the stomach.

People with PUD experience upper abdominal pain, right below the ribs, about 1530 minutes after eating a meal. If the person has an ulcer in the small intestine, the pain may only begin 23 hours after a meal.

Some other signs and symptoms of PUD include:

The following warning signs require immediate emergency care and a consultation with a gastroenterologist:

Doctors will treat PUD with medications or surgery. The options for medication therapy include the same drugs often recommended for GERD. PPIs are the preferred treatment because their action is superior to that of histamine receptor antagonists.

If a person tests positive for H. pylori infection, they may require antibiotics. The treatment for H. pylori infection includes two antibiotics and a PPI. People whose conditions do not respond to this protocol may require a quadruple therapy with bismuth and different antibiotics.

If possible, some doctors may recommend that people stop taking medications that contribute to PUD. However, people should not stop taking any medications without first seeking the advice of a doctor.

People with refractory disease that does not respond to medication may require surgery.

People develop kidney stones when a crystal, usually comprising calcium, travels from the kidney through the urinary tract. Kidney stones do not always cause problems and health complications, but some can get stuck and lead to medical issues.

Some risk factors for kidney stones include:

People with kidney stones may not experience any symptoms. The most common symptom of kidney stones is a sharp pain radiating to the groin when the stone begins traveling down the ureter. People may describe this pain as dull, colicky, sharp, or severe.

Some individuals may feel nauseous or vomit because of the pain. Blood in the urine is also common. Some people may also report a burning sensation when urinating.

Doctors may need to prescribe pain relief medications, since passing a kidney stone is often very painful. People may also take NSAIDs to help with pain. Increasing fluid intake is also important.

Tamsulosin is a drug that helps people pass kidney stones; it reduces the stimulation of the smooth muscle in the urethra.

If a doctor finds a kidney stone that is 6 millimeters or larger, they may need to intervene to manually remove it from the urinary tract.

UTIs are bacterial infections of the urinary bladder. Doctors categorize UTIs as either complicated or uncomplicated. An uncomplicated UTI occurs in people who are otherwise healthy and not pregnant.

The most common bacteria that cause UTIs include:

People with a UTI may experience:

People who are very young or old may experience subtle or unusual symptoms. For example, older adults with a UTI may present with confusion or an altered mental state.

The symptoms of a complicated UTI are usually similar to those of an uncomplicated UTI.

Doctors treat UTIs with antibiotics. To select the most appropriate antibiotic to treat the infection, the doctor will consider the persons risk factors for infection with a pathogen that is resistant to multiple drugs.

People with a low risk may receive a first-line therapy such as:

Learn more about UTIs here.

Different gynecological conditions can cause pain in the lower abdomen that might feel like a burning sensation. These conditions may include:

During ovulation, a fluid filled sac, or cyst, may form on an ovary. Most are benign, but they can sometimes rupture and require intervention.

Painful menstruation, or dysmenorrhea, refers to pain during menstruation without a disease of the pelvis. Sometimes, other conditions can cause painful periods.

Endometriosis is a chronic condition of the female reproductive system wherein the tissue that normally lines the uterus grows in other parts of the abdomen.

The following table lists some of the symptoms associated with ruptured cysts, painful menstruation, and endometriosis.

Depending on the diagnosis of a burning sensation in the lower abdomen with a gynecological cause, a doctor will select the most appropriate treatment.

The following table lists some treatment options for causes of a burning sensation in the lower abdomen.

Certain cancers of the digestive, urological, and gynecological tracts may present with pain in the lower abdomen.

Depending on the type of cancer, people may experience different symptoms. However, the condition may also go unnoticed.

Although cancer is more common in older adults, anyone with troubling symptoms should arrange an evaluation by a doctor.

The following table lists some warning signs and symptoms of urological, digestive, and gynecological cancers.

Different types of cancer require different treatments. These may include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Surgery aims to remove the cancer tissue, whereas chemotherapy and radiation therapy use medications or high energy rays to kill cancer cells.

Doctors may select a treatment based on the cancers location and stage. Sometimes, people may require a combination of treatments.

People with digestive cancers may also receive targeted therapies and immunotherapy.

People who experience a burning sensation in the lower abdomen may have a digestive, gynecological, or urological condition.

By investigating the other associated symptoms and the persons medical history, doctors can diagnose a burning sensation in the lower abdomen and choose the most appropriate treatment option for it.

A doctor may also consider some other abdominal conditions, especially in older adults. These may include cancers of the gastrointestinal, gynecological, or urological systems.

Be sure to contact a doctor for a complete evaluation to determine the correct diagnosis and receive the appropriate treatment.

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Burning sensation in lower abdomen: Causes and treatments - Medical News Today

World-record mountain goat shot with bow by Kansas native in Alaska – The Topeka Capital-Journal

A Council Grove native who took down a mountain goat earlier this fall in southeast Alaska can now lay claim to a world record.

Kaleb Baird, 33, a Council Grove High School graduate, shot the massivebilly goat on Sept. 11 of this year. On Dec. 5, the Pope and Young Club convened a special panel of judges in Prescott, Ariz., to measure the potential world record, and the judges scored the goat at53 4/8 inches, making it the largest bow-harvested mountain goat in North America by just two-eighths of an inch.

The previous record was set just10months prior, on Feb. 15, by fellow Alaskan Rosey Roseland. Roseland'sgoat was taken onRevillagigedo Island in Alaska and measured53 2/8 inches officially.

"Congratulations to Kaleb Baird on his very special Rocky Mountain Goat, and the Pope and Young Club's new World Record," Eli Randall, director of records for the Pope and Young Club, said in a news release shortly after Baird'srecord goatwas scored.

Randall said Baird's goat was the third Rocky Mountain goat to meet the criteria to go through a special panel in the last 12 1/2 months.

Baird's goat will be on display at the Pope and Young's Biennial Awards Convention from April 14-17, 2021, in Reno, Nev. The event marks the 60th anniversary of the club.

Baird now joins Paslie Werth, of Cimarron, and Brian Butcher, of Andover, as recent Kansans to harvest world-class animals.

Werth, 14, set a Boone and Crockett world record with her 42-point whitetail buck shot Sept. 6, pulling in a net score of 271 4/8 inches following a mandatory 60-day drying periodto secure her deer's place in history as the largest nontypical whitetail harvested by a female in the world, as well as making her the youngest record holder in Kansas. The deer is currently the fifth-largest buck of any kind taken in state history, and broke Jamie Remmers' 23-year-old state record for largest nontypical whitetail harvested by a female at 257 1/8 inches.

"The Butcher Buck," meanwhile, is perhaps the most legendary rackin the state. The gnarly, 67-point nontypical spread unofficially measured an astounding 321 3/8 inches last October when it was taken in Chase County. The deer is set to be officially measured in 2022 and is thought to be good for the fourth-largest nontypical deer ever taken.

Kaleb's father Ken Baird, a 1969 Topeka High graduate who now lives in Manhattan, got him started on the sport at a young age when they lived in Council Grove.

"When he was knee-high to a grasshopper, I'd take him pheasant hunting," Ken said. "He started real young."

Council Grove also was where Kaleb got his start in bowhunting, as he would go deer hunting each year. But the Bairds soon began to expand their journeys as Ken started working in Alaska.

"I had a fishing boat for quite a few years up in Alaska and I thought I'd start taking him up there in southeast Alaska, and he just has always loved to hunt," Ken said. " ... How I got started up in Alaska is when I graduated from Topeka High, I went to the University of Alaska, and I met a bunch of guys up there. Always kept going back up there."

He said there's nothing else quite like the wilderness in the 49th state.

"They call it the Last Frontier, and it really is," Ken said. "It's beautiful country."

Kaleb joined his father in the Alaska fishing industry in 2014, and would go back and forth from Council Grove for nearly fiveyears before moving up to Petersburg, Alaska, early last year as a full-time resident. He said he mainly fishes commercially for salmon.

After gaining residency, Kaleb put in for a lottery permit for a "pretty unique" mountain goat herd. About 150 hunters applied for the permit last year, and the stategave out just two billy tags. And as luck would have it, Kaleb got a tag.

Mountain goat season in Alaska runs Aug. 1 through the end of the year, meaning he had some time to plan his goat hunt.

Between COVID-19, his hectic work schedule and the uncertain weather, however, Kaleb couldn't line anybody up to go with him, so he decided to go alone in the second week of September.

That meant when he finallydid shoot his trophy billy goat in September, he had a long haul to get it back home a journey that lasted about almost three days in bear country, according to Kaleb's father.

Kaleb, who lives on a remoteisland in the southeast part of Alaska, had to get a water transporter to get to the even more remote hunting area a stretch of mainland just north of Ketchikan. He said the ride was about two hours from his island.

He hiked up the mountain with about eight days of supplies on his back.

"I hadn't been in this country before," Kaleb said. "I'd talked to some biologists and guys who had hunted it years and years ago. This hunt was closed for a lot of years and this was the reinitiation, I guess, was these two billy tags they allowed for this year.

"I didn't really know what to expect."

On the fourth day, Kaleb spotted his goat. It took him about a half-day to get up the mountain to where he needed to be. By the time he got where the goat was when he started, it had already relocated, meaning he had to keep moving.

"I did find him and another smaller billy together late in the afternoon when I was about to give up," Kaleb said. "It worked out, I just kind of stumbled into him at 30 yards. Put a good shot on him, and he decided he was going to dive off into a big avalanche chute and dropped about seven- or eight-hundred foot in elevation probably in a matter of seconds."

It took Kaleb a couple hours to get down to the goat after it fell. Once he reached it, he was able to quarter it up and pack away the meat. In Alaska, he said, you've got to salvage all the edible meat, which includes "neck meat, tenderloins, backstraps, ribs, everything."

"Then the real work began," Kaleb said.

From where the goat ended up after getting shot in the avalanche chute, Kaleb said, there was another 600- to 700-foot decline that was quite treacherous.

"I knew I couldn't go back up the hill with him, my only option was to go down, but I didn't know exactly what was below," Kaleb said. "So I took him all at once. What I did was, I basically just tied all the meat bags together and I would kind of throw them in front of me a little ways and then I'd step down a couple steps and lower the meat down."

To make matters worse, he was trying to get down the mountain in darkness, as he had reachedthe goat around5 p.m. and the sun set around 7:30 p.m. He began running out of steam, and decided to set up camp for the night on a ledge with his meat. The next morning, when he resumed his descent, he was met with an unexpected visitor.

"That's when I came across a black bear that had found the carcass up above me from the night before," Kaleb said. "The chute was super narrow and steep, and it was inevitable that we were going to cross paths.

"But he didn't give me too much of an issue. I let him know I was around and he went on his way and I went on mine."

Before his trip, Kaleb had joked with his friends that he was going to shoot a record goat.

While it may seem like a premonition, it was actually just an educated guess.

"This particular goat herd, it had been known back 20, 30 years ago for some of the biggest billies to come out of the state of Alaska," Kaleb said. "And then they closed the hunt. It was kind of an isolated herd that they wanted to do some studies on and monitor for a while. There was some logging going on in the area and a few other reasons.

"This herd just has abnormally large horn genetics, so going in I knew with the caveat it hadn't been huntedin 16, 18 yearsit was kind of a double whammy that the potential was there for a really big billy."

As this was his first real mountain goat hunt, he said he was by no means a field judge and really didn't know when he saw the goat that it was a potential world record. He said the smaller billy that was with his goat gave him some perspective as far as it being a good-sizedgoat, but other than that he didn't know for sure.

However, before he went on his hunt, he had to study up, taking an online course on identification and studying online what he was looking for in a trophy goat.

"It was obvious this billy had some incredible mass when I first found him," Kaleb said. "... I had a pretty good idea this was a pretty substantial billy."

And as massive as the goat's horns were, they were actually damaged a little by the fall, as Kaleb said it clippedabout an inch off the right side.

Aside from mountain goats, Alaska has a variety of big game species to pursue, including bear, moose, Sitka black-tailed deer and elk.

And as luck would have it, Kaleb actually drew an elk tag this year, as well as his goat tag.

"Because of this goat hunt, that was kind of first and foremost," Kaleb said. "It took up most of my free time. I'd love to get another crack at hunting elk here, it's kind of neat. It's a really tough area to hunt."

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World-record mountain goat shot with bow by Kansas native in Alaska - The Topeka Capital-Journal

How Researchers Hope to Save the Florida Scrub-Jay From an Inbreeding Crisis – National Audubon Society

A geyser of dust engulfs the tires of Karl Millers silver pickup as the truck comes to an abrupt stop on a narrow dirt trail. Dodging the outstretched jazz hands of palmettos and the tangle of scrub on both sides, he slowly opens the back door to unload two soft, mailbox-size carriers covered with a bedsheet. Each contains precious cargo: a single Florida Scrub-Jay that Miller collected in the predawn gray from Ocala National Forest, just north of Orlando, and drove four hours south to Jonathan Dickinson State Park, an 18-square-mile coastal preserve near Palm Beach. The bonded pair in his truck are valuable not only because theyre among a shrinking number of Floridas lone endemic bird species, but also because Miller has hand-selected them, along with a few other families, to be a part of an ambitious experiment.

Over the past century, human development in Florida has split the jays scrub habitat into ever smaller pieces. Because the blue-and-gray, robin-size bird typically travels no more than five miles from home, this subdivision has shrunk the species deep gene pool to a series of tiny puddles. Now Sarah Fitzpatrick, a conservation geneticist at Michigan State University, is collaborating with Miller at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to translocate 5 to 10 scrub-jays from Ocala to Jonathan Dickinson (or JD, as the locals call it). The pairs hope is that the offspring of the Ocala birds will mate with those at JD, giving subsequent generations a much-needed boost of fresh DNA.

This strategy, called genetic rescue, is neither high-tech nor new, but it is still relatively untested. Scientists have long hesitated to play God with the genes of wild animals, preferring to let evolution manage itself. But several small-scale successes using the tactic in the 1990s, including with the Florida panther and Greater Prairie-Chicken, have made the strategy a more palatable option for species that may be circling the drain. Were in such early stages of using this as a tool for conservation in general. I mean, theres only just a handful of kind of iconic studies that have done this so far, Fitzpatrick says.

At JD, Fitzpatrick, Miller, and research assistant Natasha Lehr carefully walk the carriers to a small half-circle clearing next to a stand of scrub oaks, whose arthritic limbs have braided together over time. Miller unzips one carrier, Lehr the other. Fitzpatricks job is to track where the birds go whenthey fly off. Millers bird, a male, makes it out first and perches on a nearby snag before dropping out of view into the dense brush. Seconds drag by. The male calls to the female, a strident pshpshpsh. Finally she shoots out in a streak of dull blue and gray and then she, too, disappears.

One factor that makes this prized species an ideal candidate for genetic rescue is the several decades of close study leading up to this moment. This work has demonstrated that the jays genetic health is a problem that conservationists need to be worried aboutand also has positioned Fitzpatrick to test a solution. Its a role that she was truly born into.

J

ohn Fitzpatricks love affair with the Florida Scrub-Jay began in 1972 as a summer intern at the Archbold Biological Station. The Harvard undergraduate made the long drive to the dusty town of Venus, then, as now, surrounded by cattle ranches and citrus groves. In the oppressive heat, he helped ornithologist Glen Woolfenden observe scrub-jays tending their offspring. Three years before, Woolfenden had noticed the fledglings at Archbold rarely left their nests. Instead, the youngsters stuck around for at least a year to help their parents raise the next few clutches before striking out. Even then these ultimate homebodies rarely went far. They wouldnt readily traverse any land that didnt look like home. Without contiguous scrub, the scientists realized, the jays would rapidly become isolated.

The work stretched into a 50-year study that provided insights on everything from the effect of food on jay reproduction to the birds dependence on landscapes burned by fire. Today decades worth of yellow Rite in the Rain notebooks fill waist-high bookshelves at Archbold, while index cards with old notes on nest activity occupy a metal filing cabinet. People ask, After 50 years havent you learned everything? But these 50 years give us a chance to ask questions that are brand new, says John, who is now director of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology in New York.

In 1988, when John moved his young family to Archbold to take over as the stations director, he had his two-year-old daughter Sarah in tow. Archbolds scrub-jays were a part of Sarahs life growing up, but she preferred to keep company with insects, reptiles, and amphibians. When a gopher tortoise she named Sammy lumbered into their backyard, Sarah raced to her bedroom, grabbed one of her fathers cast-off notebooks, and spent the next few hours sitting on the back porch of the familys white clapboard cottage noting every detail of what Sammy did. It was, John said, the first of many signs that Sarah loved the natural world as much as he did.

Meanwhile, John was watching the regions scrub-jay population in free fall, as predicted by those early observations. The dry, sandy scrub landscape the birds needed also attracted citrus growers and the developers of shopping malls, mobile home parks, and golf courses. The mid-century boom in air conditioning made Florida habitable for the masses, creating a Southern influx that fractured the wilderness needed by Florida panthers, which were among the first animals on the federal endangered species list in the late 1960s.

The scrub-jay, too, was declared federally threatened in 1987. By 1993 only 4,000 breeding pairs remained, a loss of more than 90 percent in a century. Since then, Miller says, their overall decline has continued. The jays are scattered over several hundred small patches of scrub that survive with the help of land managers (see Each Jay Counts). Every 3 to 12 years they light controlled fires, which maintain foraging habitat for the birds and clear the dense tangles of brambles where predators like the eastern coachwhip snake can hide. The Archbold study area, home to 80 families of scrub-jays across just about 2,500 acres, is one of the species remaining strongholds, along with Ocala National Forest.

Every month, a team led by Reed Bowman, who now directs the avian ecology program at Archbold, still bounces around the areas rutted dirt trails to keep up the long-running counts. Once the birds hatch between late March and the end of June, scientists begin the banding process and, since 1995, also take a drop of blood for genetic analysis. Even at Archbold, despite adequate habitat maintenance, they saw few scrub-jays coming to the reserve, likely because of the degradation of habitat around the station. The effect on Archbolds families was dramatic.

In 2013 population geneticist Nancy Chen, then working with John at Cornell, began analyzing some of the genetic data and mapping family trees. The birds, she reported in 2016, were becoming increasingly and surprisingly inbred. A healthy population with lots of genetic diversity plays with a full deck of 52 cards. Smaller populations have fewer cards, such that no matter how well the deck is shuffled between generations, chicks are still more likely to draw a pair thats harmful, which can lead to disease and death. The more closely related two parents, the lower their offsprings chances of reaching adulthood.

One sign of an inbred population is eggs that fail to hatch, which is occurring at Archbold with increasing frequency. If this was true at Archbold, it was likely the case elsewhere. It kind of freaked out the scrub-jay community, says Chen, now a researcher at the University of Rochester.

Chens scrub-jay work was groundbreaking for conservation biologists not only because it quantified the effect of inbreeding, Bowman says, but also because she showed that the influx of even a handful of outsiders could be crucial to the health of larger populations. These results also told Chen and her colleagues that simply protecting and expanding habitat wouldnt be enough to save genetically isolated populations of scrub-jays throughout Florida. The birds needed an infusion of fresh genes, and for that, they needed help.

A

lthough Darwin himself outlined the principle of genetic rescue, the actual practice remained hugely controversial for more than a century. Not only did many hold philosophical objections to the idea, they could also point to several natural and laboratory experiments in which translocating individuals failed in ways hard to predict in advancea high-stakes risk when dealing with small populations. One of the most famous was a 1950s field study in which ibex from Turkey and Sinai were brought to what was then Czechoslovakia. When the hybrid ibex gave birth at the coldest time of year, and the population died out, the move was deemed to be a bust. Likewise, in a lab experiment in the late 1980s, Scripps Institution of Oceanography researchers tried to see if tiny crustaceans from Baja California could mate with their counterparts off the coast of Vancouver. Although the first generation appeared fine, the second was not.

A chill settled over the field, but in the 1990s biologists in Florida couldnt sit back and watch as their native panthers were winking out. Only 22 remained in the stateand few were healthy. Texas pumas, scientists discovered, had the right balance of attributes to help: They were genetically different enough to bring in new variety while similar enough to allow crossbreeding. Florida panther numbers immediately rebounded, and the genetics of the population, now 120 to 230 animals strong, remains healthy today. At around the same time, scientists tried something similar with the Greater Prairie-Chicken, importing birds from Minnesota, Kansas, and Nebraska to bolster flagging numbers in Illinois. It, too, seemed to be a success.

In these cases, conservationists had turned to genetic rescue in a last-ditch attempt to save extremely imperiled species or populations. There was little choice. But to further refine and perhaps expand the use of genetic rescue, evolutionary biologist Chris Funk wanted to know how such a strategy actually affected the genetics of the resulting populationespecially when a species was only waning rather than near its curtain call. In these cases, there might be the potential to act earlier, with a different risk-reward calculus at stake.

Sarah joined Funks lab in 2010 to try to answer this question by studying Trinidadian guppies. Evolutionary biologists had noticed that the paper-clip-size fish living at a streams headwater looked and acted differently than those at the end due to differences in the number of predators. Whats more, in many streams, the guppies at the headwaters had become isolated from their downstream brethren, and their numbers seemed to be slowly declining. Slogging through Trinidads rainforests, researchers moved a small number of downstream guppies upriver, and Sarah studied the effects of the new guppies on the resulting headwater population guppy boom. Importantly, Sarah showed that the genes from the downstream fish didnt overpower the hybrid offsprings ability to survive in the headwater environment. This offered the best of both worlds: increased genetic variety, while maintaining headwater specificity. The work, Funk says, showed not just whether but how genetic rescue could work in the wild.

Sarah started her own lab at Michigan State University a year after Chen published her preliminary genetics studies. To Chen and John Fitzpatrick, it was becoming clear that the scrub-jays could benefit from such an experiment. Although Sarah preferred fish to birds, she didnt hesitate to return to her roots. Seeing an opportunity to apply her work, she, Chen, and her dad decided to collaborate to save the species that once perched on her head.

The research at Archbold provided an invaluable baseline: It offered a chance to understand how the genetic rescue process might work for the species, gene by gene. The data also supported Chen and Sarahs assertion that they wouldnt need to move hundreds of birds to JD to see a benefit; even a few families should provide a solid genetic boost to small, isolated groups. If they are successful, Sarah hopes their work could help conservation biologists consider the tactic in more cases. Funk, Sarahs former Ph.D. adviser, agrees: This is probably one of the best systems in the world to understand genetic rescue, he says.

Finding a donor population was easy. Miller had been banding and monitoring the birds at Ocala since 2014. Over that time, he had moved 49 jays from the national forest, home of more than one-third of the species, to bolster the birds numbers in nearby parks and had seen it hadnt harmed the Ocala population. The bigger question was where to put them. An ambitious new fire-management program at JD had opened acres of perfect habitat, leaving room for newcomers. Miller and John hammered out how to select the migrs and where to release them in the park. The researchers wanted healthy birds that had raised at least one fledgling, which would indicate their skill as parents and their genetic health. Since scrub-jays lived as families, theyd move them together.

In early 2019 the researchers moved a first family group, a total of three birds, from Ocala to JD, where there were fewer than 25 families left. That group did not successfully breed that year, something that Sarah and Miller expected might result from the stress of the move. But one breeding female either died or left the park between June 2019 and January 2020. The now single male was then spotted with a solo female at JD, making the team optimistic that the new, mixed pair might breed. The sign was encouraging enough that by January 2020, Miller, Sarah, and John thought it was time to try again.

L

ehr and Sarah climb a low rise at JD, binoculars at the ready, with Miller on their tail. In the trios laser focus on the scrub, an impenetrable snarl of cacti and cabbage palms, they almost miss the scrub-jay pair from Ocala doubling back, turning northwest on a short flight over the release site and onto a sand pine snag.

The team regroups in a clearing 20 feet behind the birds, while an Eastern Phoebe watches on. Miller appraises them, his round tortoiseshell glasses giving him an owlish look as he scratches at stubble from his 4 a.m. wakeup time. For several hours they watch the Ocala pair bounce between the snag and nearby scrub oaks, calling back and forth. Then the birds hop to the ground and fall silenta siesta to escape the pounding sun.

Scattered

About

Surveys of Florida

Scrub-Jay family

groups on conservation

lands reveal their

dwindling and patchy

distribution, according

to 2019 data.

Likely Extirpated or Extirpated

MAP BY JULIE ROSSMAN; DATA COMPILED BY ARCHBOLD BIOLOGICAL

STATION, USFWS, AND AUDUBON FLORIDA

Lehr, Sarah, and Miller meet early the following morning to check whether the home-turf jays have chased off their new neighbors. As the sun burns off the morning haze, the trio seeks the transplants on a ridge where they spent the night. Sarah cups her hands and calls to the jays. Her voice turns raspy and she gives up within an hour. Heading deeper into the park, Sarah coaxes a group of scrub-jays closer with peanuts, to see whether they might be the translocated pair. They arent. She squats to snap photos. Hello, she laughs. Are you guys inbred?

Breaking for a lunch of fish tacos, the team discusses their goals for the scrub-jays. Using utensils and a salt-and-pepper shaker as landmarks, they map out the states current populations on the table. Several other populations sit along the coast, trapped between built-up beachfronts and swampy lowlands. Restoring scrub habitat between JD and these areas could one day allow the populations to merge into a larger, healthier group that might not need humans to move birds at all.

Its a crucial long-term goal, says Marianne Korosy, director of bird conservation at Audubon Florida. Genetic rescue is, at best, only part of the solution, she says: We still have to have prescribed fire management, and we still have to have enough land set aside in conservation to grow populations of jays. The prairie-chickens of Illinois provide a cautionary tale. The movement of birds bolstered the states numbers, but because biologists didnt address the underlying causes that led to inbreeding, the population is once again imperiled. Similarly, humans will have to help scrub-jays for the foreseeable future, both by increasing their genetic diversity and by protecting their landscape.

In the coming years, Sarah and Chen intend to track the new transplants closely, collecting blood samples to evaluate the genetic health of birds at JD and at Archbold, where the populations ongoing isolation will serve as a long-term comparison. This work will also help identify the minimum size of a healthy scrub-jay population, a key piece of information for conservationists. If Sarah sees that the 2019 and 2020 transplants survive their first year or two at JD, then she and Miller may bring several more families to the park. The team discussed performing additional genetic rescues, including to Indian River County just north of JD, once a stronghold of the species.

Fortified by lunch, the group focuses their search for the translocated birds on the area where they were last seen yesterday. Several sweaty hours of trekking left their Carhartts studded with prickly pear spines, but no scrub-jays flew close enough to identify. Then, beneath a gnarled scrub oak, Lehr spots the blue-green-silver bands of the male from Ocala. She turns to Miller, just a few feet behind her, with a big grin. There. We got it, she says.

The jay hops once or twice, then flies several hundred feet to a sand pine, and its mate arrives shortly after. Lehr and Miller track their progress via binoculars. Sarah joins them, alerted by Lehrs excited text. The trio watches the birds until the late-afternoon sun fades and it becomes too dark to see. Only then do they turn back.

This spring the two birds stayed together. Although they built a nest, the eggs disappeared before hatching. Its not ideal, Sarah says, but given the jays generally high rate of nest failure, it wasnt alarming. She remains cautiously optimistic that the birds will thrive in their adopted home, forging new family bonds among the dry, sandy scrub.

This story originally ran in the Winter 2020 issue as The Key to Saving Florida Scrub-Jays May Run in the Family.To receive our print magazine, become a member bymaking a donation today.

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How Researchers Hope to Save the Florida Scrub-Jay From an Inbreeding Crisis - National Audubon Society

Eddie Izzard praised after fans notice use of she/her pronouns in latest TV appearance – The Independent

Earlier this week, the stand-up comedy star, 58, appeared on Sky Arts series Portrait Artist of the Year in which the shows host Stephen Mangan and contestants referred to Izzard as she and her.

Izzards fans, who were catching up with the show at the weekend, have posted supportive messages on social media.

The show is the first televised appearance in which Izzard has been referred to with her chosen pronouns.

Speaking about her decision, the British Comedy Guide reports Izzard as saying: " This is the first programme I've asked if I can be 'she' and 'her' this is a little transition period."

She said it feels very positive, adding: I just want to be based in girl mode from now on.

Many used the opportunity to highlight how much they love the comedian and political activist.

Independent Culture NewsletterThe best in film, music TV & radio straight to your inbox every week

Independent Culture NewsletterThe best in film, music TV & radio straight to your inbox every week

I cant tell you what she means to me as a comic, Shappi Khorsandi wrote.

Rocked my comedy world when I was a teen and beyond. Changed everything, made room. I love her and this morning Im very happy for her.

Writer Shon Faye added: Good for Eddie Izzard asking for the pronouns she/her to be used so publicly. As far as I can gather, she isn't a trans woman she's gender fluid but prefers the feminine pronoun. Good for her

Eddie Izzard on Sky Arts show Portrait Artist of the Year

(Sky Arts)

I love Eddie Izzard and hope she gets everything she wants in this life, another Twitter fan wrote.

In 2017, Izzard told The Hollywood Reporter: "I am essentially transgender. I have boy mode and girl mode. I do feel I have boy genetics and girl genetics."

Izzard appeared on the series seven finale of Portrait Artist of the Year, which saw contestants attempt to capture her likeness.

During her appearance, she tells them: I think everyone should and must make life an adventure.

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Eddie Izzard praised after fans notice use of she/her pronouns in latest TV appearance - The Independent

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