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Ask a dozen people about their greatest fears, and you’ll likely get a dozen different responses. That, along with the complexity of the human brain, makes fear, and its close cousin, anxiety, difficult to study.
For this reason, clinical anti-anxiety medicines have mixed results, even though they are broadly prescribed. In fact, one in six Americans takes a psychiatric drug.
A team of investigators from the Salk Institute uncovered new clues about the mechanisms of fear and anxiety through an unlikely creature: the tiny nematode worm. By analyzing the responses of worms exposed to chemicals secreted by its natural predator and studying the underlying molecular pathways, the team uncovered a rudimentary fear-like response that has parallels to human anxiety. Such insights may eventually help refine prescriptions for current anti-anxiety drugs and enable the development of new drugs to treat conditions like PTSD and panic disorder.

For the past 30 or 40 years, scientists have used simpler animals to figure out how fear might work in humans says Sreekanth Chalasani, associate professor in Salk’s Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory and senior author of the paper, published in Nature Communications on March 19, 2018.
The idea has been that if you could figure out which underlying signals in the brain are related to fear and anxiety, you could develop better drugs to block them.
The team at Salk started with a simple creature, the microscopic worm called Caenorhabditis elegans. C. elegans, which contains only 302 neurons, has a natural predator, another worm called Pristionchus pacificus, which bites and kills C. elegans.
The researchers discovered that by exposing C. elegans to chemicals that are excreted by P. pacificus, they could elicit a fear-like response. When it encounters these predator-excreted chemicals, C. elegans rapidly reverses direction and crawls away.
They found that this fear-inducing chemical, a new class of molecules called sulfolipids, could activate four redundant brain circuits that led to this behavior. Additionally, C. elegans continued to change its behavior even after the fear-chemical was removed. This is analogous to behavior in mice, who express fear when exposed to the scent of cat urine, even if a cat is nowhere nearby.
For years, we thought that only advanced brains like those of mammals would have this complex reaction Chalasani says. But our study is showing that a simple animal expresses something very much like fear.

In the experiment, coauthor and UC San Diego graduate student Amy Pribadi soaked C. elegans in a solution containing the sulfolipid for 30 minutes. The worms failed to lay eggs, even for an hour after they had been removed from the solution, an indicator of acute stress as well as a longer-term response akin to anxiety. Further research showed that the signaling pathways activated during the worms’ response are similar to the pathways activated when more complex animals experience fear.
When the worms were soaked in a solution containing Zoloft (a human anti-anxiety drug), however, these fear and anxiety-like responses were not observed. This suggested that at least some of the pathways that the drug acts on to eliminate anxiety in mammals have been preserved by evolution.
Also intriguingly, the team found that Zoloft acted on the worms’ GABA signaling in a neuron that affects the animal’s sleep. Whether this is also the case in humans is not yet known, but points to a potential pathway to understand why Zoloft works in some people and not others. The research eventually could lead to a change in how these drugs are prescribed.
We hope the findings from this paper will contribute to the field by providing a broader picture of some of these signaling activities Chalasani says.
Our findings suggest that fear and anxiety are ancient and evolved much earlier than we originally thought. The pathways, nerves, circuits and genes that we’ll now be able to study in the worm should inform us about this process in humans.
In addition, he says, understanding which chemicals may repel nematodes could have implications for developing new kinds of pesticides, potentially ones that are even nontoxic.
C. elegans is not a pathogen, but many other types of nematodes can do severe damage to crops he explains.
Biology research can go in many different directions, and you never know what you’re going to uncover.

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Can Trump win a trade war with China?

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"A productive day of running."

Our thoughts from the first free practice day of F1 2018.

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In a design that looks straight out of an old future-tech horror film, researchers in the U.K. have built a wearable, portable brain scanner that can record neural activity while the user is moving.
The device, described today in Nature, could enable scientists to study brain function in ways that aren’t possible with stationary brain scanners, like that of functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI.
It’s a big step forward says Peter Schwindt a physicist at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., who was not involved in the project. The technology opens up new applications for this type of brain scanning, he says.
That assumes people can get over the unfortunate look of the device, a wired-up head cast that falls somewhere between The Phantom of the Opera and Predator.

The device employs magnetoencephalography, or MEG, which measures magnetic fields present at the scalp. These fields are generated by the brain’s natural electrical currents, and, with mathematical analysis, can be used to create a 3D map of brain function with millisecond resolution.
Conventional MEG devices, cumbersome machines the size of a manatee, require the user to remain motionless while undergoing a scan, similar to the requirements of an fMRI. That severely limits the kinds of research that can be conducted. It also makes it difficult to study children.
In today’s report, researchers at the University of Nottingham and University College London, in the U.K., shrunk MEG to the size of gladiator helmet. The system would enable researchers to image people who find it hard to keep still, such as babies, children, and people with movement disorders.
The portable system would also allow scientists to conduct entirely new kinds of studies.
You can look at aspects of brain function involving spatial navigation, which is hard to do with a subject who is stationary says Richard Bowtell a professor of physics at the University of Nottingham, who co-authored the report. You can also look at more natural interactions between people when they are free to move.
In the team’s design, the sensors are fixed relative to the person’s brain, rather than in a stationary machine. They achieved this by integrating miniaturized quantum sensors into a head cast, and pairing it with a system for canceling out background magnetic fields.
These helmets contain small sensors called magnetometers that detect magnetic fields to allow researchers to map a wearer’s brain activity.
The system is custom made for each user. A head cast is 3D printed to fit snugly over the scalp and face. Miniaturized quantum sensors called optically pumped magnetometers (OPMs) lock in place above the target area of the brain, where they will sense the brain’s magnetic fields...
To cancel out the Earth’s magnetic fields, which would interfere with the scan, the researchers constructed a set of bi-planar electromagnetic coils. These coils generate fields equal and opposite to the Earth’s field, thereby canceling it out. The coils are placed in a structure that sits near the user, creating a small, magnetically shielded space in which the user can move during the scan. The experiments take place in a magnetically shielded room which cancels additional fields.
Bowtell and his colleagues tested the system against a conventional MEG machine by recording subjects’ brain activity while they performed a finger lifting task. The wearable system performed on par with the conventional machine, according to today’s report.
The team then recorded the subjects’ brain activity while they performed different tasks that involve head movement, such as bouncing a ball on a paddle or drinking from a mug.
I was impressed by what they could do with measuring the brain response while playing this ball game says Schwindt at Sandia.

The big limitation of the prototype is that users can’t move their heads outside of the shielded space: an invisible box 20 to 40 cm per side, or about the size of an old Macintosh SE.
Subjects are constrained by this 40 cm volume, so obviously they’re not getting up and walking around says Schwindt.
There’s significant development that needs to happen to move towards allowing full natural movement.
Bowtell says his team is working on that. In the next iteration, the group aims to integrate the background-canceling coils into the walls of the room, allowing the subject to walk around.
Several groups, including Schwindt’s, have been developing quantum sensors, and specifically OPMs, for use in MEG imaging. OPMs improve MEG imaging because they don’t have to be cryogenically cooled, like the superconducting technology in conventional MEG scanner. That allows the OPM sensors to be worn snugly on the head, improving the quality of the data recorded.
Despite the improvements in OPM sensors, subjects must remain still during scans. Most of us have taken the approach thus far to keep our sensors stationary Schwindt says.
The U.K. team is likely the first to employ OPM technology in a way that allows subjects to move, he says.
The idea of making brain recording and imaging devices more portable is not new, of course. Researchers have successfully built wearable EEG, or electroencephalography, and even used such devices to record the brain’s electrical activity during a bungee jumping experiment. EEG measures the voltages at the scalp, which reflects the voltages in the brain. But it’s hard to use EEG to pinpoint the location of the activity in the brain, something that MEG can do.
Researchers have also developed wearable brain scanners using fNIRS, or functional near-infrared spectroscopy. One group used the technique to create a brain-computer interface system. In fNIRS, changes in blood oxygenation are measured using light as an indirect indicator of neural activity. But like EEG, it doesn’t easily pinpoint the location of the brain activity, says Bowtell.
Wearable MEG could provide that specificity in a portable scenario. It will be interesting to see how far the technology can be pushed, in terms of how much movement can be allowed during scanning, says Schwindt.
And if the head cast ends up not working for the research world, maybe someone in Hollywood could use a new prop

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Donald Trump has appeared to have become a pawn of the Russians in one of two famous political dramas, writes Rick Salutin.

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Stem Cell Treatment Restores Sight to Patients in New Clinical Trial

"The first patients to receive a new treatment derived from stem cells for people with wet age-related macular degeneration have regained reading vision. The treatment may help reduce or even eliminate many forms of age-related sight loss in the future..."

#future = #REALnews #health #medicine #medtech #wellness #tech #innovation #science #design #biotech #biology #xMed #singularity #engineering #ai #artificialintelligence #robots #automation

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For anyone anticipating the Trump administration will attain a degree of maturity after the first year, think again. The insanity is set to increase, and the Republicans are hitching their wagons to the trainwreck even as they see it unfolding.

Trump continues to remove stabilizing personalities from his administration, to replace them with people from the extremists who support the most hazardous Trump ideas.

The Republican party which last year appeared to try to be a stabilizing force, has reacted to election losses to democrats by attaching themselves even more closely to Trump, out of fear of alienating his supporters and losing massively in the upcoming midterms.

From the article linked below:

The election of an emotionally volatile reality star — with authoritarian instincts, an insatiable ego, a capacious ignorance of American civics and geopolitics, and an implacable aversion to reading multi-page documents — led many a commentator to seek solace in the thought that Trump wouldn’t really be in charge. Precisely because he was so ignorant of — and uninterested in — governance, the new president would delegate critical decisions to his team of decorated generals, veteran GOP operatives, and corporate titans. He would handle the tweets, speeches, and petty graft; they’d handle the policy.

Trump’s first 14 months produced plenty of evidence to support this hypothesis. But the past few weeks have fatally undermined it. The White House isn’t preparing for face-to-face talks with North Korea because James Mattis decided that was a good idea; or drafting $60 billion worth of tariffs against China because that’s what the GOP Establishment wanted. These things are happening solely because Trump decided to make them happen. That maniac on Twitter really is the president of the United States. And as more and more “adults” exit the West Wing — and it becomes more and more difficult to find normal, competent people willing to take their places — the chances of a return to last year’s “normalcy” grow ever more remote.
For his many, many faults, Tillerson was nevertheless one of the administration’s staunchest defend_ers of the Iran nuclear agreement — and among its most ardent opponents of a belligerent approach to North Korea. By contrast, his replacement — outgoing CIA director Mike Pompeo — was the only senior White House official who encouraged Trump to decertify the Iran deal, even as his colleagues in the intelligence agencies affirmed Tehran’s compliance with the agreement.
Throughout his presidency, Trump has displayed an aversion to the concept of “rule of law.” He has argued repeatedly that he believes the Justice Department’s first responsibility is to protect him from legal harm. Now, he has more cause for indulging this authoritarian impulse than ever before.

And indulging it, he is. Late Friday night, Jeff Sessions fired Andrew McCabe — just 26 hours before the G-man was set to qualify for his pension. McCabe immediately alleged that he’d been fired for crass political reasons — Trump was trying to discredit him as part of a broader attempt to obstruct and delegitimize the special counsel’s investigation. Trump promptly confirmed this charge. In a tweet celebrating McCabe’s firing, the president did not refer to any findings from the inspector general’s report that had officially triggered the deputy FBI director’s ouster, opting instead to denounce McCabe for his ties to James Comey, and complicity in “the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!”

The president proceeded to publicly assail the Mueller probe, arguing that it was launched on the basis of a “Fake Dossier” (which is indisputably untrue) and that the investigative team leading it includes “Zero Republicans” (Robert Mueller is a Republican). Meanwhile, one of Trump’s lawyers called for the investigation to be shut down.

Ultimately, these attacks are less alarming for their immediate effects, than for the signal that they send to the rest of federal law enforcement. Andrew McCabe is going to be fine. He has a range of options for recovering his pension, and (surely) for selling his tell-all book. And, as of this writing, the Mueller probe is still alive and kicking — in no small part because shutting down the investigation would be enormously difficult and costly for the president. Beyond the complex series of personnel changes required to dispatch Mueller and his team, the high-profile nature of the investigation ensures that its untimely death would result in a blizzard of politically damaging leaks.
In recent weeks, as Democrats racked up improbable special-election victories, and the White House’s scandals continued to metastasize, Republicans grew even more craven in their fealty to the president. The House Intelligence Committee progressed from shielding the president from federal investigators to attacking those investigators on his behalf: In February, the committee’s Republicans released a memo, which purported to demonstrate that the FBI had used opposition research funded by Hillary Clinton to obtain a surveillance warrant of Trump aide Carter Page, one month before the 2016 election — without disclosing the political motivations behind said research to the relevant authorities. Republican lawmakers hyped these and related claims, with Senator Ron Johnson going so far as to announce that a “secret society” of anti-Trump Democrats was fomenting “corruption of the highest levels of the FBI.”

Read the article for more.....

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Here's Who Pays for Meghan Markle's Clothes

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To take #Amazon head-on, #Google has announced a new umbrella program called ‘unified shopping program’.

#GoogleShopping #UnifiedShoppingProgram #GoogleExpress

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Donald #Trump is on the warpath against #China over trade: On Thursday afternoon (Mar 22), he announced plans to impose a range of #tariffs against hundreds of lines of Chinese-made goods. But it’s crucial to recognize where those dollars that China gains from selling us their goods are going. The surplus flows right back into U.S. Treasuries, to fund our gigantic and ballooning federal deficits, in addition to providing tons of growth capital to stateside industries - all at bargain rates. Hence, the U.S. is extraordinarily dependent on cheap loans from China.

China is already on the road to purchasing less of our newly issued debt, whatever happens on the trade front. Although its annual trade surplus with the #US has stabilized at around $350bn, it’s well below its peak of a few years ago. And China’s waning power as an exporter, primarily due to the stronger yuan, has substantially lowered its holdings of foreign reserves.

#WorldEconomy #Protectionism #Globalisation #GlobalTrade #TradeWars #EconomicRisk #Economy #TradePolicy #InternationalTrade #TradeTariffs #Geopolitics #InternationalRelations
Here's How China Could Really Hurt Trump in a Trade War

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GNU/Linux is awesome! Most of its distros are free and open-source and the fun thing about it is the plethora of versions out there, especially if you are someone particular about security and privacy.
Today, we have decided to bring you a comprehensive list of Open-Source distributions with a focus on user security and privacy from which you can choose from.

1. Discreet Linux
Discreet Linux “hides” your data by keeping files offline. Discreete does not offer support for network hardware or even the internal hard drives. Thus, every data is kept offline in RAM or even on a USB stick and it can run in Live mode.

2. Kali Linux
Kali Linux pen-testing distro is arguably the most popular on the planet! It possesses hundreds of built-in tools. The download page proposes ISOs that are updated as regularly as every week.
RedHat RHCSA and RHCE Certification Exam Study Ebook
Kali Linux can also run in live mode or installed to a drive and also runs on ARM devices such as the Raspberry Pi.

3. Whonix
Whonix uses virtual machines in order to remain safe online. Whonix also uses the Tor network for privacy reasons like Ipredia OS and Tails OS.
There is also a selection of already installed applications for you to choose from. Whonix puts your mind at ease with its features whose only purpose is to secure your privacy such as the Tor Browser.
Whonix is well-suited with all operating systems that are able run Virtualbox. Virtual machines can only utilize a part of your real system’s resources. This simply means that the operating system may not be as efficient compared to an OS that has been installed to a local hard drive.

4. Subgraph OS
Subgraph OS is based on Debian Linux and was designed to be hack-tight as its kernel has been hardened with numerous security improvements.
Subgraph also makes virtual ‘sandboxes’ in which risky apps like web browser run. A particular firewall also routes all outgoing connections via the anonymous Tor network. Every app has to be manually approved of by the user in order to connect to the network and to gain entry in other applications’ sandboxes.
Subgraph OS has to be installed on a hard drive after which encryption of your file system is a must, and so there’s no worry in writing unencrypted data anywhere!

TENS stands for Trusted End Node Security and it is an OS approved by the NSA seeing as it was designed by the experts over at the US Air Force.
The generic version of it is designed specially to be run in Live mode with a minimal set of apps so that any malware it picks up during runtime is detached upon shutdown.
It has a ‘Public Deluxe’ version which comes along with the Adobe Reader and the LibreOffice. All versions include a customizable firewall, and it’s also worth noting that this TENS supports logging in via Smart Card.

TAILS stands for The Amnesiac Incognito Live System. After Kali Linux, it is probably the next most popular privacy-focused distros around! Using this distro, you can protect your location (anonymous) while on the Tor network as all your connections are routed through it. Another pro feature of Tails is its ability to run in ‘Live’ mode.
The applications in Tails have been specifically chosen to further protect your privacy. You can download more apps from Debian repositories via the Command Line but mind you, your Internet bandwidth will play an important role as all downloaded applications will be channeled through the Tor network.

7. Qubes OS
Qubes OS is a security-centered desktop operating system that is here to offer security via isolation and it is an excellent distro.
It utilizes the Xen Hypervisor to run numerous virtual machine, making categories such as ‘Internet’, ‘Work’ and ‘Personal’ to better guard your privacy. This means that if you were to download malware onto your PC by any means, your files wouldn’t be at risk.
Aesthetically, Qubes OS uses colors to different virtual machines so that users can easily make selections. Even though it uses a graphical OS installer (which encrypts the hard drive during installation), it is best used by an experienced and avid Linux user.

8. BlackArch Linux
BlackArch Linux is an Arch Linux-based penetrating testing distro that possesses many a hacking tools – around 2,000. This means that you won’t have to be downloading every time you need something.
It is 64-bit Live ISO is larger than 7GB and is updated a few times a year along with brand new ISO images released on a 3 times a year.
You can run BlackArch from a USB stick or CD, install it on a computer or virtual machine, or even onto a Raspberry Pi in order to give you a handy pen-testing computer.

9. Ipredia OS
Ipredia OS is based on Fedora Linux and can be either run in the Live mode or be installed onto your hard drive.
Similar to Tails OS, IprediaOS routes all the connections through the Tor network via an anonymous I2P network to protect your identity and location.

10. Parrot Security OS
Parrot Security OS, just like aforementioned OS, possesses tons of built-in pen-testing tools from which to choose. Parrot OS is courtesy of the Frozenbox, and just like BlackArch and Kali, its tools are compartmentalized for simplicity.
At least 4GB of RAM is needed for installation and if for some reason you do not have enough space on your laptop, you can use its ‘Lite’ version. You also have the option of running the OS only when you want to use it.
Parrot Cloud is a particular version of the distribution that’s explicitly made to run on a server. It possesses zero UI graphics but yet houses a variety of forensic and networking tools that permits you to run tests remotely. This one, too, is for the Linux savvy gurus.

At the end of the day, any one of these privacy-centered applications will provide you will all the security you need to be confident enough to go online to browse, work, etc.

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Here's some crispy Jennifer Lopez looks, including Beaded Dress, Jumpsuit, Lace Up Boots, Bodysuit, Over the Knee Boots and more.

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The Surprising Relativism of the Brain’s GPS.

"Place-cells don’t encode an absolute position, but one that is relative to its own position history, experience, and behavioral preferences, modulated by the location of other animals of the same species."

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US president Donald Trump has temporarily excluded six countries, including Canada and Mexico, and European Union states from higher US import duties on steel and aluminium meant to come into effect on Friday

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This Is So Much Bigger Than Facebook

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John Bolton’s Incompetence May Be More Dangerous Than His Ideology

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Trump Is Sabotaging His Chance for a Peaceful North Korea Solution

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It's kinda crazy how good #PUBG's official mobile version turned out to be

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New algorithm will allow for simulating neural connections of entire brain on future exascale supercomputers

"An international team of scientists has developed an algorithm that represents a major step toward simulating neural connections in the entire human brain.

The new algorithm, described in an open-access paper published inFrontiers in Neuroinformatics, is intended to allow simulation of the human brain’s 100 billion interconnected neurons on supercomputers. The work involves researchers at the Jülich Research Centre, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Aachen University, RIKEN, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, and KTH Royal Institute of Technology..."

#future = #REALnews #robots #tech #innovation #science #design #singularity #engineering #automation #AI #artificialintelligence #economy #finance #universalbasicincome #basicincome #money #UBI 

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The Two Major Deals Congress Couldn't Strike
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