Why is COVID-19 so deadly to elders?
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Today, like every day, Eric Verdin will cycle the steep hills of Marin County. He’ll wait until noon to eat his first meal. He’ll wear a mask and stay socially distanced. He’ll be asleep no later than 11 p.m.Despite his excellent health, the 63-year-old scientist and CEO of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging knows he must do everything he can to protect himself from this hard truth: As we age, our body’s elegant symphony of immune cells turns dissonant. We may feel fine. But our hidden defenses no longer fully shield us — and may turn against us.As COVID-19’s case coun...
The Mercury News
Kansas State won't expel student who made racist tweets
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas State University will not expel the student whose insensitive tweets about George Floyd prompted many to urge that he be kicked off campus.“There have been many calls for us to expel a student who posted racist messages on social media, and while these messages are disrespectful and abhorrent, we cannot violate the law,” K-State President Richard Myers said Wednesday in a statement to the campus community.“What we can do is use these incidents as a catalyst to more crisply define the way we will work to stop hate at K-State and combat racism on our campuses.”K-State h...
The Kansas City Star
Erika Ettin: Women more likely to swipe left on men with cats … fur real
It turns out that your beloved kitty does not make the purr-fect dating profile picture.There have been countless studies on what makes people more attractive in their online dating profiles, but new research from Colorado State University suggests that men should leave their pet cats out of their photos if they want to increase their “date-ability.”The study was fairly simple: two men were photographed both with and without a cat in their arms, and 708 women between ages 18 and 24 were asked a series of questions regarding the subjects’ attractiveness.For the first man, 38% of the women surve...
Tribune News Service
Coronavirus could be the turning point for genetic vaccines, a 30-year-old technology that has not fulfilled its promise
David B. Weiner is known in scientific circles as “the father of DNA vaccines.” The tag pays homage to his pioneering work over 30 years, but it’s also a reminder that his baby is still aborning.Not a single human DNA vaccine has made it to market anywhere in the world, and the technology is still rapidly evolving.The pandemic may be the moment of truth. Genetic code vaccines — built with DNA or RNA — are strong front-runners in the global race to develop an immunization against the coronavirus that has claimed nearly half a million lives worldwide since it emerged in China seven months ago.In...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Scientists say Trump's order limiting foreign workers will hurt labs, stifle American ingenuity
ST. LOUIS — For the last two years, Washington University postdoctoral fellow Wei Qian, of China, has been researching a rare fatal childhood genetic disorder with no highly effective therapy.Now he’s scrambling to reconsider his future.Last week, President Donald Trump issued an executive order restricting until the end of the year certain types of foreign worker visas — notably the H-1B for highly skilled workers such as foreign faculty members and postdoctoral fellows. The Trump administration said the move would prioritize jobs for U.S. citizens and blunt the economic impact of the coronav...
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Bats carry coronaviruses but don't get sick. Could their secret help us fight COVID-19?
PHILADELPHIA — In stout metal cylinders chilled to negative 112 degrees, DeeAnn Reeder and Ken Field store the intestines and other tissues from hundreds of bats.Little brown bats from the caves of Upstate New York and Wisconsin. Amber-eyed fruit bats from Uganda with white “epaulettes” on their shoulders. From each, carefully labeled bits of spleen, lymph nodes, and lungs.If that gives you the shivers, the two Bucknell University scientists would counsel you to feel a touch of gratitude instead.These nocturnal flying mammals might hold the key to fighting the coronavirus.Bats are thought to b...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
'Historic' Saharan dust fills the air from Africa to US. But it does have a plus side
PHILADELPHIA — A ‘historic’ outbreak of Saharan dust that is clogging the atmosphere from western Africa to the Caribbean and potentially posing health threats could make it as far as the Midwest.While the phenomenon is an annual occurrence, “This dust episode has a huge spatial extent,” said Andrea Sealy, a meteorologist with the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology, in Barbados.And for the time being at least, it is yielding a collateral benefit to property owners on the Gulf and Atlantic Coast, and to U.S. taxpayers. All that dust suppresses storms in the subtropical Atlantic, ...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Record Saharan dust plume cloaks Caribbean as health warnings issued
MIAMI — Scientists have been monitoring atmospheric dust on the easternmost Caribbean island of Barbados since 1965. The plume currently drifting over the Caribbean into the Gulf of Mexico is like nothing they’ve ever seen.In Haiti, fully cloaked this week under a cloud of hot Saharan dust, residents reported the panoramic view of the capital, Port-au-Prince, had vanished. The gray haze also has brought a particular smell, like stepping into a wood shop. With the declining air quality, health agencies throughout the Caribbean have urged residents to take precautions and stay indoors if they ha...
Want to help with COVID-19 research? If you tested positive, share your genetic makeup with DNA testing sites
DNA testing companies like Ancestry.com and 23andMe are using their expertise in the fight against COVID-19. Ancestry.com’s study is available only to its members, but 23andMe is asking past and present COVID-19 patients (customers or not) to take part in a study that will contribute to ongoing research on the new coronavirus.23andMe asked existing customers in April if they would allow their DNA sample to be used for research aimed at determining if there are genetic factors affecting immune response to the virus. Then the company opened the study to include non-23andMe customers who had been...
Hummingbirds and other animals see colors humans don't, study finds
As a species, we humans are quite taken with our intelligence and supposedly expanded awareness compared to other living creatures. In reality, we don’t see nearly as much.Hummingbirds, for instance, can see four dimensions of color, as opposed to humans’ three, new research has shown. In addition to the three types of color-sensitive cones that human eyes have, hummingbirds have a fourth, and that one is sensitive to ultraviolet light.“Humans are color-blind compared to birds and many other animals,” said Mary Caswell Stoddard, an assistant professor in the Princeton University Department of ...
New York Daily News