A first: Micromotors used to treat stomach infection

For the first time, nanoengineers have successfully used micromotors — tiny magnesium-based engines no bigger than half the width of a human hair — to treat a bacterial infection in the stomach, according to a statement by the University of California at San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering.

The findings are published in the Aug. 16 issue of the journal Nature Communications.

The micromotors are released into the stomach where they swim about rapidly neutralizing gastric acid and releasing antibiotics. Each micromotor has a round magnesium core and is fueled by the reaction of gastric acid with the magnesium, which produces a blast of tiny hydrogen bubbles that propels the micromotor around inside the stomach.

The micromotors are biodegradable and the magnesium cores along with their binding polymer layers are dissolved by the stomach’s gastric acid without harmful effects.

Delivery of drugs to neutralize gastric acid and treat bacterial infections, such as ulcers, by micromotors avoids the use of proton pump inhibitors, which currently are employed to suppress gastric acid production but have several unwanted side effects, including diarrhea, headaches, and depression.

“It’s a one-step treatment with these micromotors, combining acid neutralization with therapeutic action,” said co-first author Berta Esteban-Fernández de Avila, a postdoctoral scholar at UC-San Diego.

The researchers tested the micromotors — loaded with a dose of the antibiotic clarithromycin — in mice infected with Heliobacter pylori. They gave the mice one antibiotic-filled micromotor once daily for five consecutive days.

Once the treatment regimen was complete, analysis of the bacterial count in each mouse’s stomach showed that treatment with micromotors was slightly more effective than conventional treatment using proton pump inhibitors.

While the work is still at an early stage, the results look promising, according to the researchers, who say their work opens the door to the use of micromotors as delivery vehicles for the treatment of diseases.

CELEB HOUNDS_Entertainment Music NONE TV

Emma Thompson attacks Hollywood for pressuring women to lose weight

Emma Thompson has criticized Hollywood for the pressure it puts on female actors to be thin.

Thompson revealed that she almost quit ‘Brideshead Revisited’ because the film’s producers asked another actor to lose weight.

Thompson made the comments during an interview on a Swedish talk show after another guest on the show brought up the issue of weight loss.

The Hollywood star refused to reveal the name of the actor who was asked to lose weight, but confirmed she confronted the producers over the issue.

“Actresses who are in their 30s simply don’t eat, ” she said.
‘Brideshead Revisited’ was released in 2008 and starred Thompson, Ben Whishaw, and Hayley Atwell. The film was an adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s novel of the same name. Other female actors in the flick included Felicity Jones and Greta Scacchi.

During the interview, Thompson also joked that Hollywood’s obsession with weight issues is the reason she chose not to live there.

The actor also criticized the fashion industry, especially the French one, which promised to get rid of ‘size zero’ but did not.

“There are some subjects you have to keep noises about because it’s so tedious, and it’s gone on and on,” Thompson said.

Thompson has crafted a reputation as a keen proponent of human rights in the past. In a letter to British publication the Guardian last year, she urged London voters to support the Women’s Equality Party in the city’s mayoral election.

In the letter, Thompson said that her reason for backing the Women’s Equality Party is because she does not want to die without closing the pay gap.

CELEB HOUNDS_Entertainment Movies NONE

Josh Gad tweets shock at animal abuse on set of A Dog’s Purpose

Actor, Josh Gad, has released a statement reacting to animal abuse on the set of A Dog’s Purpose.

Gad lent his voice to one of the dog characters in the film. Video that has now gone viral revealed that trainers on the set in Winnipeg, Canada, attempted to force a dog into rushing water. The dog clawed at the edge of the pool before attempting to run away from the trainer.

“You just got to throw him in,” commented a voice off camera while laughing.

After general repulsion to the video and PETA calling for a boycott of the film, Gad released a statement via Twitter.

“A few months ago, I was approached to lend my voice to the film A Dog’s Purpose. As I sat in a dark screening room, I was beyond touched and moved by what I saw…a movie that captures the beauty and pain of loving a pet. I signed on for a film that truly stands out as one of the most beautiful love letters to animals I have ever seen,” said Gad. “Today, however, I saw a disturbing video that appears to show a scared German Shepherd being forced to perform a stunt on the set of this film. While I do not know all the details and cannot speak to the level of care and caution that went into this moment (as I was never on set for the making of this film), I am shaken and sad to see any animal put in a situation against its will.”


AG Schneiderman: Tanning salons are lying to consumers about cancer risks

The New York attorney general is ramping up his efforts to thwart two tanning salon chains, accusing them of downplaying health risks while promoting false safety claims in regards to bronzing.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has reportedly filed lawsuits against the two spas, Portofino Spas and Total Tan. The lawsuits were filed on Thursday.

The New York attorney general says the lawsuits were were pursued after complaints made by consumers against the two chains. The two tanning salons denied the allegations, saying they would not immediately respond to requests for comment.

At least one of the tanning salons, Planet Fitness, says the company is already working on ways to better inform consumers before they make a decision in regards to tanning.

In a statement released by the New York attorney general’s office on Thursday, Schneiderman claims that the indoor tanning salons violated state business laws by running deceptive businesses that promote dangerous tanning sessions.

The attorney general also noted that the two salon companies have ignored health risks linked to indoor tanning, and they have advertised false benefits of indoor tanning on their official website and Facebook page.

The lawsuit comes after the attorney general sent undercover investigators into some of the tanning locations and followed up on the businesses healthy tanning claims on Twitter. According to the attorney general’s office, in at least one case the tanning chains claimed that tanning sessions had claimed kidney cancer.

The World Health Organization has noted in recent years the indoor tanning risks include increases to skin cancer susceptibility, and exposure to two extremely dangerous types of UV rays: UVA and UVB. It can also lead to eye cancers that cause blindness.


Sheriff: We stand by deputy who shot puppy dog

A Florida sheriff says a deputy sheriff had few options but to shoot a Rottweiler about to attack during a routine call.

Footage recorded April 17 by Deputy Kerry Kempink’s body camera was released by the Pasco sheriff department on Thursday. The video reportedly shows the deputy attempting to scale a fence while responding to an alarm at a home north of Tampa, where he encountered the Rottweiler.

The video shows two dogs circling the deputy before one dog gets closer and the deputy fires his gun, injuring the dog. Kempink, after encountering the homeowner and having them request he kill the dog, fatally shoots the dog.

According to the Sheriff’s Department, the deputy did the right thing and and no charges will be filed. Speaking Thursday, they said they would seek additional details on the incident, even as they department comes under intense media scrutiny and is receiving death threats.

While the homeowner said the dog was just a puppy and would not attack the deputy, the footage from the body can seems to show the deputy performing within his training.

The case is receiving a lot of attention after a series of controversial police shootings from around the country. The sheriff’s department says it is reviewing the incident, but noted the video is clear and they stand by the deputy and his action.

The video also comes as a heated debate over whether sheriffs and police officers should wear body cams. A number of police departments around the country have considered the measure as incidents of police shootings continue to rise. The body cams, which attach to a police officer’s uniform, allow the police officer to record interactions while responding to incidents. A number of civil rights groups have come out in opposition to the body cams, however, saying they infringe on individual rights.

Still as incidents continue to rise, lawmakers around the country are considering measures to make body cans mandatory.


Scientists have discovered weird behavior in the mysterious vampire squid

The vampire squid has been a mysterious creature for a while for scientists, lurking deep in the oceans making study of them difficult.

In fact, Vampyroteuthis infernalis isn’t even a real squid, and scientists recently made an interesting discovery that proves that as they hope to learn more about this bizarre creature, according to a Christian Science Monitor report.

Its scientific name translates to “vampire squid of hell,” and is the last surviving member of an order known as vampyromorphida, which are luminescent animals that live in the deep ocean and do not survive long in captivity, making it tough to study their behaviors.

However, Henk-Jan Havong of the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel in Germany was going through specimens at the Santa Barabara Museum of Natural History and examining old vampire squid collections when he noticed that vampire squid females had viable oocytes that could produce more eggs — something squids don’t have since they only one spawn once in their entire lifetimes.

As it turned out, Hoving detailed in a new study published in Current Biology how vampire squids apparently had alternating reproducing and resting phases instead.

Hoving and his colleagues realized that vampire squids just don’t have the energy to have a single, strenuos mating event. Vampire squids are much more sluggish and don’t move around a whole lot in their lives because of their low metabolic rates and low calorie intake. As a result, they spawn more than 100 times in a lifetime most likely, which could mean a longer life for the squid compared to shallow-water true squids.

It’s an exciting discovery of a mysterious species to be sure, but scientists still don’t know a lot about the vampire squid, including how old they get or when they reach sexual maturity.


Pay day! Man filmed beaten by California deputies settles for $650,000

On Tuesday, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors in Southern California reportedly agreed to pay $650,000 to a man beaten by Sheriff deputies.

Francis Pusok, 30, will reportedly received the settlement after an April 9 beating by local law enforcement. Pusok fled by car and then on the horse in the desert on April 9 while deputies chased him on foot after trying to serve a search warrant in an identity-theft investigation.

The assault was captured by NBC Los Angeles via a news helicopter that was hovering nearby. The video shows Pusok lying face down on the ground with his hands behind his back as he is kicked and punched by deputies, according to the Los Angeles Times. Ten of those deputies are now on paid leave.

The settlement ends Pusok’s ability to seek additional damages. In a statement released Monday, San Bernardino deputies said the agreement would save taxpayers money in the long run and allow the department to focus on its job.

“The sole purpose of this agreement for both parties is to avoid the costs involved in litigation,” Supervisor James Ramos said in a statement. “This agreement is a fair outcome for everyone involved, including taxpayers.”

Through a statement released by his attorney, Pusok said he was glad to be over with this chapter of his life and he is ready to move on.

“The Pusok family is happy to put this awful chapter of their lives behind them and begin the emotional and physical healing that must take place,” the attorneys’ statement said. “With this situation behind us, we can move forward with protecting our residents and ensuring that local enforcement is responsive, effective and restrained.

The settlement comes as a number of law enforcement divisions around the country have dealt with similar situations. A number of law enforcement agencies have sought to revamp their policies in the wake of protests in Ferguson Missouri and other cities around the country.

TSC_Global Politics

U.S. Marshals: We are ‘aware’ of the phone camera incident

U.S. Marshals are reportedly investigating an incident that took place in South Los Angeles over the weekend when a deputy U.S. Marshal allegedly took a woman’s camera as she recorded an arrest being made and smashed it on the ground.

According to the Marshal services, the agency is “aware of video footage of an and said that took place, Sunday in Los Angeles County involving a deputy U.S. Marshal.”

According to footage obtained by local news sources, U.S. Marshals took the phone of Beatriz Paez before violently stomping on it. The incident was captured on video by another individual, and comes as a number of police departments around the country have begun dealing with similar situations.

Paez described the incident, saying it left her shaken and scared.

There were reportedly three U.S. Marshals Service agents at the scene investigating a “biker gang meeting” at a nearby bar. It remains unclear whether U.S. Marshals will take action on the incident.


A possible cure for jet lag: New study finds that colors reset our body clocks

Amazing new findings from researchers suggest that our brain clock relies on colors a lot more than we thought, and it could lead to breakthroughs in treating jet lag.

Scientists at the University of Manchester in Britain were intrigued by how the brain works, both in humans and in mammals, which somehow know instinctively what time of day to turn in to their shelters, according to an Economic Times report.

As it turns out, the color of light has a big impact on how our brain clocks measure time of day, and how our physiology and behavior changes based on that.

Timothy Brown, the study’s lead researcher, said that the study is the “first time that we have been able to test the theory that color affects our body clock in any animal,” he said according to the report.

They made the findings by observing the neurons in mice. By measuring the electrical activity in the brain clock when the mice were shown different stimuli, they were able to determine that color moreso than brightness was important in determining time of day.

In theory, color could be used to manipulate a person’s brain clock to treat those who suffer from jet log or help shift workers.

The scientists found that during twilight, light is not as blue as it is during the day, in addition to being not as bright.

The brain appears to be quite sensitive to color changes between blue and yellow than it is to brightness.

The findings were published in the journal PLOS Biology.

Jet lag refers to a modern condition where travelers who cross vast stretches of the Earth in a short period of time experience sluggishness, insomnia, and a lack of alertness. This is because it disrupts the body’s circadian rhythm, which is used to more gradual changes in time of day.


Huge blast from natural gas pipeline injures 11 jail inmates in California

An explosion in a natural gas pipeline at a sheriff’s gun range in California yesterday has sent 11 people to the hospital and shut down a busy highway, authorities said.

An equipment operator was using a front-loader at the Fresno County Sheriff’s gun range to construct dirt berm that would have confined gunfire to the range as inmates were working on a cleanup project nearby,  according to an Associated Press report. Suddenly, a Pacific Gas & Electric Co. pipe erupted, injuring the operator and 10 of hte inmates.

The resulting fireball shut down traffic in both directions on nearby Highway 99 in the middle of the afternoon as flames blasted more than 100 feet into the air, which 42-year-old Kevin Ling said looked like something “out of a movie,” according to the AP report.

It was a public works employee who had been working with the front-loader all day on the range, and the sheriff’s office was investigating what happened at the time of the explosion and if the driver had been digging in area that had been marked as a gas line. The worker was in the hospital and authorities had been unable to speak to him yet.

Four of the victims were sent to a burn and trauma unit of a local hospital. Three were in critical condition and one was in serious condition. The other seven were taken to two other hospitals in the area.

Firefighters spent an hour battling the blaze before it was finally brought under control, and it took three hours to reopen Highway 99.

It’s not the first pipeline explosion resulting in injuries for PG&E, which has been accused of safety lapses by the National Transportation Safety Board. In particular, NTSB faulted PG&E for a 2010 pipeline blast that killed eight people in the San Francisco suburb of San Bruno.