April 15, 2021

Neurons in youth

first_imgHave you ever wondered why infants can learn foreign languages easily, while older children and parents struggle? Or why your third-grader can fix your computer, but you can barely check your email? The answer, scientists have long known, lies in the way brains develop. All children experience what researchers call “critical periods” —windows early in life when the wiring in their brains is more flexible than that in adults, meaning they are more able to learn new skills.Led by Takao Hensch, professor of neurology and molecular and cellular biology, and funded by a $9 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), a group of Harvard researchers from the Harvard Center for Brain Science (CBS) and the departments of Molecular and Cellular Biology and Chemistry and Chemical Biology is working to map how that brain wiring takes place in an effort to pinpoint the causes of — and potential treatments for — schizophrenia, autism, and a host of other disorders.The work — aimed at giving scientists a first-of-its-kind look at how the brain’s wiring is created, how it may go awry, and how it might be corrected — will take advantage of Harvard’s wide range of specialists.“I would not have pursued this work if it weren’t for the unique environment,” Hensch said. “I came to Harvard because I wanted to work with the exceptional investigators that are here. This research represents a dovetailing of our interests — an unusual opportunity where these cutting-edge methods are assembled in one place at one time — something that could only be found here.”Although he’s been researching the role critical periods play in brain wiring for nearly two decades, Hensch said technology now exists that will allow scientists to answer a question that has thus far eluded them: Exactly what is happening in the brain during this re-wiring process?To answer that question, Hensch will focus on a single type of cell, the parvalbumin (PV)-positive GABA neuron, in the brains of mice. Though relatively sparse, the neurons are believed to play a key role in triggering the start of critical periods early in life. Impairment of the normal development and function of these cells can contribute to a variety of mental disorders, including autism and schizophrenia.To get the up-close-and-personal view of the neurons needed for deeper insight, Hensch will collaborate with a number of colleagues, including Catherine Dulac, chair of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and Higgins Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology.In earlier research, Dulac identified as many as 1,300 genes affected by “genomic imprinting” — the phenomenon of a gene having different levels of expression depending on whether it was inherited from the father or mother — many of which appear to be linked to autism and other mental disorders.Understanding the precise role those imprinted genes play in brain development, however, is tricky. The brain contains dozens of cell types, including many different types of neurons. To study the entire brain, or even a single region, would require sifting through a vast amount of data in search of the few truly important results.  What was needed, Dulac said, was a focus on a single, critical cell type.“As it turned out, Takao was working on this very interesting population of neurons, and he has demonstrated that the maturation of this cell type is particularly important, because abnormal development can lead to mental disorders,” Dulac said.Using lab mice, Dulac will alter those imprinted genes and study how the changes affect brain development and the incidence of mental disorders.To understand how those genetic changes alter the brain’s wiring, Hensch turned to Jeff Lichtman, Jeremy R. Knowles Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and his “Brainbow” imaging technique. By tagging cells with fluorescent colors, the technique allows researchers to map the thousands of connections to and from each neuron. Lichtman is also developing a new electron microscopy method that will greatly speed the ability to draw detailed neuronal maps.“What we are trying to do with this work is to better understand the way the central nervous system is organized,” Lichtman said. “We want to learn about the basic organization of these cells from a physiological, anatomical, and genetic perspective, and then compare normal and disordered brains to see if there is a difference.”Also involved in the imaging is Xiaowei Zhuang, professor of physics and chemistry and chemical biology, who created STORM, a super high-resolution system of optical microscopy. Using the two imaging techniques, researchers will be able to study images of individual neurons, and see for the first time how the brain’s wiring changes in response to genetic alterations.“We look forward to collaborating with Takao and applying new imaging capabilities to the study of parvalbumin-positive neurons and mental illnesses related to them,” Zhuang said. “This work provides an excellent opportunity for a number of exciting collaborations.”Rounding out the team involved in the research is James Cuff, director of Research Computing for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, who will help oversee efforts to process the vast amounts of data that will emerge from the project.The result of work to study the genetics of the cells, visualizing their connections, and ultimately capturing the functionality of individual neurons, Hensch said, should be an understanding of how brains become incorrectly wired, and the development of therapies to reverse the damage.“It’s a bit down the road, but we are optimistic that focusing on these cells will have an immediate payoff,” he said. “If we know how a cell’s connectivity starts out, and how it is supposed to end up, we can look at the disease model and trace it back to see where things went awry and how we might fix it.”The grant also requires that researchers make a commitment to training the next generation of mental health researchers by involving students at many levels — even high school students – in the project. Building awareness of mental illness throughout the community is another aspect of the grant, one Hensch fulfills through his work with Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child.“I’ve been fortunate to be part of the center, which brings together people from all the Schools to look at early childhood as both a window of opportunity as well as vulnerability,” Hensch said.“I am convinced, as Takao is, that the development of an animal is a critical time for its brain,” Lichtman said. “In humans, it’s even more critical, because more than any animal our behavior is related to what we’ve learned. It’s a pretty safe bet that the thing that is changed by experience is the wiring diagram.“If these were simple problems, we would already have solutions to most of the abnormalities of the brain,” he continued. “The fact that we have solutions to virtually none of them suggests how difficult this is.”last_img read more

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Watch Lea Michele Find Her Way Out of the Darkness in Her Powerful ‘Cannonball’ Video

first_imgLea Michele has finally released her first music video! It feels like just yesterday that the Glee star-turned pop singer was teasing the world with photos from her video for “Cannonball,” but now we can see all of its stunning, sexy and sensational glory. Naturally, Michele does an amazing job at capturing both the vulnerability and strength in the Sia-penned tune. The video starts with Michele trapped in the dark, but our star soon finds release as the light pours through the cracks in the windows. Michele’s debut solo album, Louder, is scheduled for release on March 4. Check out the video below! View Comments Star Filescenter_img Lea Michelelast_img read more

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Photos! Kick It with the Cast of London’s Bend It Like Beckham Musical

first_img View Comments Bend It Like Beckham is bringing the world of football (no, American readers, not those sweaty guys in shoulderpads running into each other) to the West End in May—but before kicking off the new musical, Natalie Dew, Lauren Samuels and the cast took a field trip to Southall, West London, where the story takes place. Check out these kickass photos of Dew and Samuels (above) and Tom Millen, Jamal Andreas, Daniel Bolton and Jorell Coiffic Kamall (below) by Uli Weber, then catch Bend It Like Beckham beginning May 15 at the Phoenix Theatre!last_img read more

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Thomas Hazelby Feels Electricity as West End’s 40th Billy Elliot

first_img View Comments Hazelby, from Doncaster, started dancing at the age of three and has trained at the Royal Ballet School. When not dancing, Jones, who is originally from Northumberland, keeps his feet moving as a black belt karate and kickboxing champion. Directed by Stephen Daldry and featuring music by Elton John and a book and lyrics by Lee Hall, Billy Elliot is based on the Oscar nominated film and is an inspiring story of one boy’s dream to know his ambitions against the odds. Set in the North East of England alongside the backdrop of the historic 1984-85 miners’ strike, the show follows Billy as he pursues his passion for dance in secret to evade disapproval from his struggling family. Ten-year-old Thomas Hazelby makes his West End debut in Billy Elliot beginning March 11, becoming the fortieth boy to take on the titular role in London since its premiere in May 2005. Also joining the cast is 11-year-old Nathan Jones, who plays Michael. The two join a cast at the Victoria Palace Theatre that includes Ruthie Henshall as Mrs. Wilkinson, Deka Walmsley as Dad, Chris Grahamson as Tony and Gillian Elisa as Grandma.last_img read more

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Indonesia may import extra 130,000 tons of sugar from India to meet demand

first_imgAccording to the latest estimates from the Agriculture Ministry, white crystallized sugar consumption in the country stood at 2.8 million tons in 2019, while local production is projected to be around 2.2 million to 2.3 million tons. This leaves a space of around 500,000 tons for consumption-ready imported sugar if production is similar this year.Read also: Bulog seeks approval to import 200,000 tons of sugar ahead of RamadanIf approved, the proposed import could help prevent a price spike during the Idul Fitri holidays in May from a sugar supply shortage, as consumption typically skyrockets during the festivity, including sugar.The import request follows Indonesia’s recent lobbying attempt to prioritize imports of raw sugar from India in return for lower tariffs imposed by India on crude palm oil from Indonesia. Indonesia may obtain more sugar from India to gratify domestic needs as local supplies are unlikely to be sufficient to meet demand this year.The Food Resilience Agency (BKP) has proposed to import 130,000 tons of white crystallized sugar to offset a delayed milling period due to severe drought in 2019, agency head Agung Hendriadi said on Thursday. The BKP is currently awaiting a coordination meeting at the Coordinating Economic Ministry to approve the measure.”The sugar milling season will start in late June or early July. Usually, it occurs in May, but the long drought last year has pushed back the [sugarcane] planting season, thereby delaying the milling process,” Agung told reporters after a discussion with the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) in Jakarta. In this photograph taken on December 7, 2018 Indian labourers harvest sugarcane in a field along the Lucknow to Faizabad highway in northern Uttar Pradesh state. ( AFP/SANJAY KANOJIA)Indonesia recently changed the color-grading standard known as the International Commission for Uniform Methods of Sugar Analysis (ICUMSA) from 1200 to 600 to allow raw sugar shipments from India. Most Indian mills make raw sugar with an ICUMSA of less than 800 and could not ship to Indonesia, which had a level for imported sugar of 1,200.It also reduced import duties for Indian raw sugar to around 5 percent to further bolster the initiative.”It’s a barter. We get their palm oil [export] access,” Agung said.Earlier this month, the Coordinating Economic Ministry already agreed to import 495,000 tons of nonindustrial raw sugar from India to meet domestic demand.The State Logistics Agency (Bulog) had proposed to import another 200,000 tons of sugar but had yet to specify an import source as of Thursday.In this photograph taken on January 23, 2019, Indian workers pack processed sugar at the Triveni sugar refining factory in Sabitgarh village, in Bulandshahr district in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. ( AFP/Sajjad HUSSAIN)Meanwhile, India has expressed eagerness to resume shipments of its sugar to Indonesia after a long hiatus and a severe drought cut production in Thailand, normally the main supplier of raw sugar to Indonesia.“This is a golden opportunity for us to export sugar to Indonesia,” said Prakash Naiknavare, managing director of the National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories Ltd., a producers group, as quoted by Bloomberg.Read also:  India sugar shippers target ‘golden opportunity’ in Indonesia“Mills just need to shut white sugar production and start making raw [sugar] in the next two months before the crushing season is over.”Indonesian Sugar Association (AGI) adviser Yadi Yusriadi told the Post that the BKP’s latest import suggestion was “normal” to stabilize prices ahead of the Idul Fitri holidays, as retail sugar prices had already reached around Rp 14,000 per kilogram as of Thursday, exceeding the government’s price ceiling of Rp 12.000.He added that the short-term import setback would be less apparent than the yearly import quota, which has been blamed for threatening local producers with competitive prices and unfair practices.Indonesian Sugarcane Farmers Association (APTRI) chairman Soemitro Samadikoen questioned the need for more imports, since prices had been “manageable” with the highest retail price (HET) pegged at Rp 12,500 per kg since 2016.“This has been four years. Four years. How many times have the electricity prices increased? How many times have minimum wages increased? How [high] has inflation been?” Soemitro said.“Does this country want to make its people prosperous or make them suffer instead? Is this [import plan] aimed at getting rid of sugarcane farmers, so they can continue to import?”AGI executive director Budi Hidayat also cast doubt on the necessity of more imports from India, with both the Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister and Bulog having put forth import initiatives.”The domestic prices could be under pressure if imports and supply are excessive, as [the price of the imported sugar] would be below the price ceiling,” Budi said.Topics :last_img read more

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Ray Parlour names Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in his Premier League Team of The Season

first_imgVirgil van Dijk and Andrew Robertson are included in Ray Parlour’s Team of the Season (Visionhaus)Parlour then named Jordan Henderson, Jack Grealish and Kevin De Bruyne as his midfield trio.‘Jordan Henderson, he’s definitely in my team,’ said the former Arsenal midfielder.‘I think he’s really been a leader for Liverpool and England. Alongside him, [Kevin] De Bruyne. Advertisement Comment Metro Sport ReporterWednesday 15 Apr 2020 1:50 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link87Shares Dean Henderson will become Manchester United’s No.1, says Ray Parlour (Getty Images)Naming his back four, Parlour said: ‘[Trent Alexander-Arnold’s] like a winger, gets down the right-hand side, scores goals. He’s always a danger going forward.‘Got to be [Virgil] Van Dijk. He’s been a real leader at the back. A Rolls Royce of a player for Liverpool.‘Alongside him, now this was a tricky one. I looked at [Jack] O’Connell from Sheffield United, Conor Coady has been excellent for Wolves, but I’m going to go for [Caglar] Soyuncu.‘I think he has been a brilliant signing for Leicester. I am sure lots of bigger clubs are looking at him now, he’s got a big, big future in front of him.’ Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored 17 goals for Arsenal in the Premier League this season (Getty Images)Ray Parlour has included Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in his Premier League Team of the Season.Aubameyang currently has 17 goals in the Premier League this season, two behind Jamie Vardy who leads the way for the Golden Boot.Parlour has included both in his Premier League season XI along with Sadio Mane, although there is no room for his Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah.Starting with his goalkeeper, Parlour told VBET: ‘It’s got to be [Dean] Henderson from Sheffield United, I think he’s really done well this season.ADVERTISEMENT‘When he’s had a couple of bad mistakes he’s really bounced back and played brilliantly.AdvertisementAdvertisement‘I’m sure one day he will be number one for Manchester United.center_img Jack Grealish has been Aston Villa’s talisman this season (Visionhaus)‘The assists he makes, always one step ahead of everybody in that midfield.‘The other side of him, it’s got to be Jack Grealish. I think Jack has really been outstanding again for Aston Villa.‘If it wasn’t for Jack I think they would certainly be relegated and maybe relegated already.’ Ray Parlour names Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in his Premier League Team of The Season Advertisement Ray Parlour’s Premier League Team of the Season (Metro.co.uk)Naming his attacking trio, Parlour said: ‘On the left I am going to go Mane, another Liverpool player, he’s been brilliant this year.’Up top Jamie Vardy, 33 years old, amazing. Really looking after himself but when he gets on that pitch his pace is still there.‘And I’ve got to try and get one Arsenal player in this, Aubameyang.‘He’s the one who has kept Arsenal going, he’s the one who has been scoring goals for fun.’Follow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For more stories like this, check our sport page.last_img read more

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Registration for 2012 LIME National Basketball League open

first_img Share Sharing is caring! NewsSports Registration for 2012 LIME National Basketball League open by: – February 3, 2012 Share Tweetcenter_img National Basketball Team. Photo credit: Mickey JosephThe Dominica Amateur Basketball Association announces the beginning of its 2012 LIME National Basketball League featuring again the DOMLEC Premier Division and the Vitamalt / Loubiere Water 1st Division. The season is expected to commence shortly after carnival and teams are being asked to ensure that they are registered before registration closes.The DABA is preparing for an early start to the season in order to avoid the rainy season as well as to complete the season in time to prepare the Dominica National team for regional competitions. The DABA is expecting another exciting basketball season with a number of 3 on 3 Basketball competitions on the cards for this year as part of the 3×3 initiative that FIBA International has initiated globally in preparation for the upcoming 3 on 3 World Championships.The DABA is fortunate and grateful to again have the support of LIME as the National Sponsors and thanks DOMLEC and Dominica Brewery & Beverages Ltd for again partnering with the DABA by sponsoring the various Divisions.All teams are again reminded to collect their registration forms from Mickey Joseph at MVB or from any executive member.We take this opportunity to thank all those who contributed to the successful season we had last year and again seeks everyone support in ensuring that we can make 2012 an even greater success.Press ReleaseDominica Amateur Basketball Association Share 35 Views   no discussionslast_img read more

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US House to vote on limiting Trump’s military actions

first_imgWASHINGTON –United States (US) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will introduce andvote on a war powers resolution this week to limit US President Donald Trump’smilitary actions regarding Iran.  “It reassertsCongress’s long-established oversight responsibilities by mandating that if nofurther Congressional action is taken, the Administration’s militaryhostilities with regard to Iran cease within 30 days,” added Pelosi.(Reuters) Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, joined by fellow Democrats, speaks during a news conference about legislation the House has passed at the Capitol in Washington, United States on Dec. 19, 2019. REUTERS/ERIN SCOTT center_img “Thisresolution is similar to the resolution introduced by Senator Tim Kaine in theSenate,” Pelosi said on Sunday.    last_img read more

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Daisy’s Doggie Daycare announces open house tailgate party

first_imgBatesville, In. — Daisy’s Doggie Daycare will hold an open house tailgate party and ribbon cutting Friday, October 19 at 3:30 p.m. at their facility at 471 North Huntersville Road.There will be dog training demos, essential oils, hot dogs, chips and water. All proceeds benefit Ripley County 4-H Bow-Wows Club.last_img

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Roof boost for Hammers

first_img The first of 14 floodlight panels is to be removed later this week to allow the development, which is twice the size of that for the London 2012 Games, to press on in the spring. The cantilevered roof, which measures some 84 metres at its deepest point, will be the longest of its type in the world and will cover every seat at the 60,000 capacity venue, with the work scheduled to be completed by 2015 to host some Rugby World Cup matches. West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady hopes all of the new innovations in the project will make for a smooth transition to the Hammers’ new home when they eventually leave Upton Park. “This marks a key milestone in the stunning, £200 million transformation of the Olympic Stadium – one that will culminate in an iconic new home for our club,” she said. “My team and I fought exceptionally hard on behalf of our supporters to ensure these modifications, which we knew were of paramount importance to our supporters, took effect. “The roof is a truly phenomenal design that will enhance the iconic status of this sporting arena and help to lock in the world-famous atmosphere that our supporters create when we play at home. “There will also be an innovative seating solution that will bring fans closer to the pitch, new hospitality areas and a bespoke ticket office and club store. “It was vital for us that this stadium offers an incredible viewing experience for West Ham fans and I think that will become ever clearer as the conversion progresses. “We are wholly committed to delivering a state-of-the-art home for West Ham by 2016 that will honour the Olympic legacy pledge. “Today represents another significant step toward that hugely exciting goal.” An agreement between the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) and West Ham saw the Barclays Premier League club take on a 99-year lease, with the Olympic stadium to be transformed into a 60,000-seater venue in time for the 2016-17 season. However, a House of Lords report was published earlier this week which recommended West Ham and Leyton Orient work together with the LLDC, and even suggested the League One side be granted occasional use of the stadium, something for which they have long been pushing. Press Associationcenter_img Preparations are now underway to construct the new roof on the Olympic Stadium, which is set to be West Ham’s home from the 2016-17 season.last_img read more

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