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Drug Company CEO Blames Drug Industry For Increased Drug Resistance

Guppy Noob Intern Replying (136 comments)

It is even more interesting to me knowing the first CRE (Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae [cdc.gov]) clearly arose in India.

Funny thing was the response of Indian politicians was that naming of the NDM-1 resistance factor was "malicious slander". The acronym of course standing for New Delhi Metallo-beta-lactamase. I happen to agree that geographic and ethnic names should no longer be used for disease entities, but nationalistic outrage is not a useful response to a problem.

but the reasons weren't clear to me and I just naively assumed it was a random mutation. India, also according to to that same paper has quite a problem with antibiotic resistance which one wouldn't expect as there isn't so much of a problem with antibiotic overuse as there seems to be in the West.

Don't be so sure of that, when antibiotics are (or maybe were until recently) common non-prescription OTC products in India and other parts of south and south-east Asia, and often much cheaper than in the West.

about a week ago

Drug Company CEO Blames Drug Industry For Increased Drug Resistance

Guppy Re:Holy Carp! (136 comments)

So it's the water coming out of the plant that (sometimes) reaches that level. The actual river has orders of magnitude more flow than that.

So he may have a valid point, but this is obvious FUD.

So in other words, the river itself might have a few tenths or hundredths of a percent of a concentration below the therapeutic MIC (potentially of multiple different antibiotics, depending on what factories happen to be located on that river).

Your interpretation of this is doesn't-matter, therefore FUD. My interpretation of this is enough to exert influence on relative competitiveness within a microbial community, and exert selection for antibiotic resistance.

Long before you reach lethal anti-microbial concentrations, you get subtle changes in growth rate and microbial gene expression. In agriculture, farms routinely use antibiotics at just a few percent of therapeutic dosing, and that is already enough to cause massive changes in the microbial community (with the side-effect of improving the growth rate of the host animal). You don't need to directly kill the microbes themselves, you just need enough to skew the balance of power between the various micro-organisms that are busy competing with each other.

The concentrations in the river may be a fraction below even that, but even slight pressures are enough to alter the course of evolution, when administered over a long enough time period. And "long enough" in this situation is in the context of an organism with 20-minute generation times.

about a week ago

Nintendo Puts Business In Brazil On Hiatus

Guppy Gray-market Nintendo smuggling (111 comments)

In a statement e-mailed to Polygon, Nintendo of America said that the company's distributor for Latin America would no longer send products to Brazil, but it would continue to distribute Nintendo goods to other parts of South America.

So in other words, Nintendo's legitimate subsidiary cannot compete with gray-market smugglers who evade the tariff to bring in consoles and games from the neighboring countries.

So they're just going to pull out and let the smugglers be their de-facto distribution channel.

about two weeks ago

Professor: Young People Are "Lost Generation" Who Can No Longer Fix Gadgets

Guppy Re:fixing modern gadget (840 comments)

Oh sure - if a tiny grain capacitor without marking is failing - I bet the author can't even de-solder it
find the same part and solder it back on

same with BGA chip - ever try desolder a 400 balls BGA chip in your gadget and try to find that chip in your radio shack?

There are little repair places in China and Hong Kong that will do exactly that. I've heard it's amazing the kind of repairs and mods you can get done in little hole-in-the-wall shops over there.

about three weeks ago

Netflix Begins Blocking Users Who Bypass Region Locks

Guppy Setting up your own VPN? (121 comments)

So how do I go about setting up a home router with a VPN exit point, for my own personal use while traveling? I've seen some of the various *WRT and other router firmware packages with VPN servers, but I have never managed to get one to work. Couldn't tell if I was messing something up on the router, or on my laptop / mobile phone client, or it was some firewall I was hitting at my hotel or hotspot I was connected to (although my university's VPN usually would usually function properly, so I don't think that was it).

Any cookbook instructions out there that will let me get something working?

about three weeks ago

North Korean Internet Is Down

Guppy Re:Who will get (360 comments)

China wouldn't need to DDoS North Korea's internet link

They do, if they want to have plausible deniability.

about a month ago

Airbus Attacked By French Lawmaker For Talking To SpaceX

Guppy Re:who cares? (168 comments)

an idiotic remark that is inconsequential to anything.

Is it? I'm really surprised that Airbus had the chutzpah (or political naivete).

You see, Airbus gets quite a bit of help from the governments of Europe -- subsidies, contracts; I wouldn't be surprised if they had a major hand in the mergers that formed the company in the first place. Most likely, the lawmaker is thinking of Airbus as being little different from some wayward administrative division in his own bureaucracy, now in need of a rebuke for not supporting the government's agenda.

about a month and a half ago

Overly Familiar Sci-Fi

Guppy Re:Diversity is good, especially in SciFi (368 comments)

Hey, you know what else won't be the same? Language!

The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi would be a good example of a story that pushes that boundary (within the constraints of being able to still communicate with the reader). Not just choosing to invent silly terms for familiar things, but creating a culture-shock effect, where new slang is invented to reflect a new culture.

about 1 month ago

First Star War Episode 7 Trailer Released

Guppy Re:Summary of Trailer (390 comments)

This seems like canon, I thought all the stormtroopers were clones of Jango Fett

Presumably at some point the clone tanks get blown up, or maybe conscripts ended up being cheaper than clones.

Although it would be more interesting if some random strain of the common flu ended up adapting itself perfectly to that nice monoculture of Fetts, and killed them all off (except for Boba, who got a flu shot).

about 2 months ago

The EU Has a Plan To Break Up Google

Guppy Re:Google also has a plan (334 comments)

Practically, the EU branch of their offices needs to be little more than a cubicle with a lawyer and desk.

But oddly enough, on paper it seems a huge portion of Google "exists" in the EU, legally speaking. As far as revenues and expenses go, a huge portion of Google's revenues and expenses are "generated" there, (specifically, Ireland), thanks to an international tax dodge.

about 2 months ago

fMRI Data Reveals How Many Parallel Processes Run In the Brain

Guppy Re:If you're a man... (91 comments)

... the answer is one.

No, no. Definitely capable of at least two threads, since when I get a boner my brain still manages to spare processing power to continue breathing. Although if I were to try chewing gum at the same time, there could be trouble.

about 3 months ago

Getting 'Showdown' To 90 FPS In UE4 On Oculus Rift

Guppy Variable frame rate technology (30 comments)

Any chance we'll be seeing variable frame rate technologies like G-sync / Freesync on the Occulus? There have been some rumors, but I don't think there's been any definitive official announcement yet.

about 3 months ago

Soda Pop Damages Your Cells' Telomeres

Guppy Re:Not a surprise, but is it just one ingredient? (422 comments)

Sodium benzoate

My money is on the sugar/syrup itself, acting through the insulin-like growth factor system. There is substantial evidence that decreased IGF activity lengthens lifespan and reduces cancer risk, while increased activity drives increased cell-division activity and apoptosis.

about 3 months ago

Soda Pop Damages Your Cells' Telomeres

Guppy Research Paper Link (422 comments)

1) What is the name of the paper?

Found it: http://ajph.aphapublications.o...
"Soda and Cell Aging: Associations Between Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption and Leukocyte Telomere Length in Healthy Adults From the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys"

Objectives. We tested whether leukocyte telomere length maintenance, which underlies healthy cellular aging, provides a link between sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption and the risk of cardiometabolic disease.

Methods. We examined cross-sectional associations between the consumption of SSBs, diet soda, and fruit juice and telomere length in a nationally representative sample of healthy adults. The study population included 5309 US adults, aged 20 to 65 years, with no history of diabetes or cardiovascular disease, from the 1999 to 2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Leukocyte telomere length was assayed from DNA specimens. Diet was assessed using 24-hour dietary recalls. Associations were examined using multivariate linear regression for the outcome of log-transformed telomere length.

Results. After adjustment for sociodemographic and health-related characteristics, sugar-sweetened soda consumption was associated with shorter telomeres (b=–0.010; 95% confidence interval [CI]=0.020, 0.001; P=.04). Consumption of 100% fruit juice was marginally associated with longer telomeres (b=0.016; 95% CI=0.000, 0.033; P=.05). No significant associations were observed between consumption of diet sodas or noncarbonated SSBs and telomere length.

Conclusions. Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened sodas might influence metabolic disease development through accelerated cell aging. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print October 16, 2014: e1–e7. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2014.302151)

about 3 months ago

Experts Decry Randomized Ebola Treatment Trials As Unethical, Impractical

Guppy Good reasons not to rush to unguided usage (193 comments)

It also means that for those that are infected, there's so little chance of survival with "traditional" treatments that they have very little to lose by trying something experimental. Even if a treatment gives them cancer, or HIV, or leaves them with something like chronic fatigue syndrome, they're still going to enjoy quality of life better than they would if they're dead.

I would posit that the problem is not that the currently infected individual faces any fate worse than death.

The problem is that lack of high-quality data may forestall the development of more effective therapies, which means you are condemning people infected in the future to death. This latter group seems abstract and hazy, compared to the concrete suffering we can see before us, but eventually the future becomes the now, and we'll have to deal with it.

Researchers may well end up heading down blind alleys, trying to optimize ineffective strategies that end up sucking up resources (money, scientists, labs, mindshare). The history of medicine is full of useless or even harmful therapies that were developed without the benefit of rigorous clinical trials -- difficult to treat conditions like cancer were especially prone to this phenomenon (for instance, the radical mastectomy procedure for breast cancer -- painful, disfiguring and debilitating, developed during an age of heroic surgery... a "gold standard" treatment yet much much later proven to offer no survival benefit in the majority of situations).

about 3 months ago

Survivors' Blood Holds Promise, But Draws Critics, As Ebola Treatment

Guppy Re:A Priority (55 comments)

It has been done during the 1995 Kikwit Ebola outbreak in Zaire. They tried it on eight patients and only one died. I have found no indication that any health care workers were infected.

Just in case anyone is curious, here is the actual paper: http://jid.oxfordjournals.org/...

Between 6 and 22 June 1995, 8 patients in Kikwit, Democratic Republic of the Congo, who met the case definition used in Kikwit for Ebola (EBO) hemorrhagic fever, were transfused with blood donated by 5 convalescent patients. The donated blood contained IgG EBO antibodies but no EBO antigen. EBO antigens were detected in all the transfusion recipients just before transfusion. The 8 transfused patients had clinical symptoms similar to those of other EBO patients seen during the epidemic. All were seriously ill with severe asthenia, 4 presented with hemorrhagic manifestations, and 2 became comatose as their disease progressed. Only 1 transfused patient (12.5%) died; this number is significantly lower than the overall case fatality rate (80%) for the EBO epidemic in Kikwit and than the rates for other EBO epidemics.

about 5 months ago

Survivors' Blood Holds Promise, But Draws Critics, As Ebola Treatment

Guppy Re:Doesn't make sense to me (55 comments)

Neither the summary or the linked article use the term, but what they're using is known as "convalescent serum". As the parent poster stated above, it's been in use for over a century now, but has only fallen out of fashion in modern times -- mainly because it has been superseded by vaccines and anti-infectives that are cheaper, more reliable, more convenient, and easier to mass-produce.

Trivia note: While Type-O may be the universal blood donor, the ideal serum donor is Type AB.

about 5 months ago

Survivors' Blood Holds Promise, But Draws Critics, As Ebola Treatment

Guppy Humoral vs. Cell-mediated Immune responses (55 comments)

Couldn't this approach be used for any infectious disease for which there's no effective cure but there are some survivors? Are there just no Western diseases that fit the profile? I suppose you need both a person sick with a deadly infection and a recent survivor of a same infection (with the same blood type). So it may just be the case that we simply don't experience that scenario enough to develop this solution. But I'm curious if this approach has been used outside of Ebola in Africa.

It's not used much today, because we've largely conquered the disease agents that such an approach works against. Typically, it works well against infectious agents which are highly vulnerable to a Humoral (antibody-mediated) immune response. Co-incidentally, this also means most vaccines work extremely well against those same disease agents. Unfortunately, Ebola doesn't yet have a commercially available vaccine, but I would expect such a vaccine to work well.

There are only a few examples in the West where we still use this approach -- one that I can think of, is the use of anti-HepB sera in infants born to infected mothers, and for emergency prophylaxis of needlestick injuries involving Hepatitis B exposure. For the bulk of the population, Hepatitis B vaccination works well enough (and is far cheaper).

What it doesn't work well against, are infectious agents that don't respond well to natural antibody defenses. For instance, most anti-HIV antibodies do not defend well against HIV, anti-HepC antibodies do not protect against Hepatitis C, nor do anti-TB antibodies protect against Tuberculosis. For those agents, an effective response depends on cell-mediated immunity.

about 5 months ago

Obama Administration Seeks $58M To Put (Partly) Toward Fighting Ebola

Guppy Re:They didn't build that (105 comments)

ZMapp is produced by a private firm

If you follow the money, it'll lead back to a grant funded by the Federal government (in this case, both the U.S. and Canadian governments).

Ebola therapeutics were (and probably still are) anticipated to be a profit-less product segment, as far as the civilian commercial market is concerned. The affected population can't afford any resulting product, plus previous outbreaks were sporadic with small numbers of fatalities. The only potential "customers" -- at the time research was initiated over a decade ago -- were governments who might be interested in stockpiling treatments for future bio-defense use.

Now, a few of the large pharmaceutical companies still maintain and fund tropical-diseases divisions, despite the lack of profitability (for instance, Glaxo's division is largely a legacy of British Colonial days, which they've carried ever since). But I highly doubt a small biotech like Mapp Biopharm would ever do so without being paid most of the cost up-front.

about 5 months ago



Smaller Testicles correlated with Better Parenting Behavior

Guppy Guppy writes  |  about a year ago

Guppy (12314) writes "A recent paper appearing in PNAS (Paywalled) measured Testicular volume and Testosterone levels in fathers of children aged 1-2 years. This information was compared against parenting surveys reported by the children's mothers, as well as MRI imaging of brain activity in the men's Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA), taken while the men were viewing photographs of their children.

The results appeared consistent with past studies hinting of correlation — both Smaller Testicles and lower testosterone levels were found to correlated with both greater reported Nuturing-type behavior, as well as greater stimulated VTA activity. The authors commented that further research was required, given the limited scope of past investigations into the subject, saying "Testicular imaging is sort of a unique niche right now."

Free Summary appearing in Nature here."

Link to Original Source

Slashdot Poll Submission: "R"

Guppy Guppy writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Guppy (12314) writes " R:
  • Type
  • Project for Statistical Computing
  • Daneel Olivaw
  • Dorothy Wayneright
  • Kelly
  • "...Shiver me timbers, matey!"

Tylenol may ease pain of existential distress, social rejection

Guppy Guppy writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Guppy (12314) writes "Does Tylenol reduce existential distress? Acetaminophen (Paracetamol) has been used to relieve mild-to-moderate physical pain for over a century, yet its actual mechanism of action continues to be debated; modern research has demonstrated an intriguing connection with the body's endocannabinoid system, raising the question of whether it may also have subtle psychological effects as well. A recent paper claims Acetaminophen can alter our response to existential challenge; previous findings have suggested that it may blunt the pain of social rejection as well."

Training an Immune System to kill Cancer: A Universal Strategy

Guppy Guppy writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Guppy writes "A previous story reported widely in the media, and appearing both on Slashdot and XKCD described a novel cancer treatment, in which a patient's own T-cells were modified using an HIV-derived vector to recognize and kill leukemia cells. In a follow-up publication, a further development is described which allows for a nearly unlimited choice of target antigens, broadening the types of malignancies potentially treatable with the technique."
Link to Original Source


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