Mouse embryos grown without eggs or sperm: why and what’s next?

Two research teams grew synthetic embryos using stem cells, long enough to see some organs develop.

Cassandra Willyard

Nature | August 25, 2022

Natural and synthetic mouse embryos grown by developmental biologist Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz’s research group.Credit: Gianluca Amadei, Charlotte Handford

The recipe for mammalian life is simple: take an egg, add sperm and wait. But two new papers demonstrate that there’s another way. Under the right conditions, stem cells can divide and self-organize into an embryo on their own. In studies published in Cell1 and Nature2 this month, two groups report that they have grown synthetic mouse embryos for longer than ever before. The embryos grew for 8.5 days, long enough for them to develop distinct organs — a beating heart, a gut tube and even neural folds.

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Adolescent transport and unintentional injuries: a systematic analysis using the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019

GBD 2019 Adolescent Transport and Unintentional Injuries Collaborators

The Lancet | Open Access | Published: June 29, 2022 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(22)00134-7

Summary
Background
Globally, transport and unintentional injuries persist as leading preventable causes of mortality and morbidity for adolescents. We sought to report comprehensive trends in injury-related mortality and morbidity for adolescents aged 10–24 years during the past three decades.

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Luxemburg’s life for Democracy and Socialism

Tomás Várnagy

Frontier | Vol 55, No. 1, Jul 3 – 9, 2022

Rosa Luxemburg (1871, Zamosc, Poland–1919, Berlin, Germany) is one of the most fascinating and imposing revolutionary figures in modern European history and, at the same time, one of the most discussed to date. Her friends and adversaries emphasize the penetrating acuity of her intelligence, her great willpower, her lively and impatient temperament, her strong combative nature, and her great moral rigour.

She was born in Poland in 1871, the year of the Paris Commune, the youngest of five children in a cultured and relatively wealthy Jewish family. Intelligent and brilliant in her studies, independent and rebellious in spirit, she was involved in socialist political activity from her early youth. When she was a little girl, as a typical cultured Central European, she spoke three languages: Russian, Polish, and German. She became an activist in the Proletariat Party, founded in 1882 (almost two decades before the founding of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party of Bolsheviks and Mensheviks), in which she organised and led striking workers. In 1886, four of its leaders were executed, while others were locked up and exiled.

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Global, regional, and national consumption of animal-source foods between 1990 and 2018: findings from the Global Dietary Database

Victoria Miller, PhD; Julia Reedy, MS; Frederick Cudhea, PhD; Jianyi Zhang, PhD; Peilin Shi, PhD; Josh Erndt-Marino, PhD; Jennifer Coates, PhD; Renata Micha, PhD; Prof Patrick Webb, PhD; Prof Dariush Mozaffarian, MD; on behalf of the Global Dietary Database

The Lancet | Open Access | Published: March, 2022 | DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(21)00352-1

Summary
Background
Diet is a major modifiable risk factor for human health and overall consumption patterns affect planetary health. We aimed to quantify global, regional, and national consumption levels of animal-source foods (ASF) to inform intervention, surveillance, and policy priorities.

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The Marriage of Julian Assange

Chris Hedges

Orinoco Tribune | March 25, 2022

London – I am standing at the gates of HM Prison Belmarsh, a high security penitentiary  in southeast London, with Craig Murray, British Ambassador to Uzbekistan until he was fired for exposing CIA black sites and torture centers in that country. Inside the prison, Julian Assange and Stella Moris are being married.  Craig and I were on the list of the six guests invited to the wedding, but prison authorities, in an example of the institutional sadism that characterizes all prisons, denied us entry. Craig, who was to have been one of two witnesses, was informed that he could not enter because he would “endanger the security of the prison.”

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U.S.: When Thousands Are Evicted Each Day in A Land of Fabled Riches

Bharat Dogra

Countercurrents | January 02, 2022

Recently on December 15 Eli Saslow wrote a very important feature in The Washington Post on the daily routine life of an elderly police constable Lennie who has been charged with the responsibility of evicting those families or persons from their homes who have not been able to pay their rent.

Essentially his daily duty during the last two decades has been to go from house to house, based on a list of those households who have lagged behind in rent payment, carrying a gun as well as handcuffs, and evict them. Astonishingly, this single police constable has evicted 20,000 Arizonans from their homes over a period of 2 decades, or 1000 per year, or about 3 per day.

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Effects of covid-19 pandemic on life expectancy and premature mortality in 2020: time series analysis in 37 countries

Nazrul Islam, research fellow1,  Dmitri A Jdanov, head of laboratory of demographic data23,  Vladimir M Shkolnikov, research scientist23,  Kamlesh Khunti, professor of primary care diabetes and vascular medicine45,  Ichiro Kawachi, professor of social epidemiology6,  Martin White, professor of population health research7,  Sarah Lewington, professor of epidemiology and medical statistics18,  Ben Lacey, associate professor1

BMJ 2021; 375 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj-2021-066768 (Published 03 November 2021)

Abstract

Objective To estimate the changes in life expectancy and years of life lost in 2020 associated with the covid-19 pandemic.

Design Time series analysis.

Setting 37 upper-middle and high income countries or regions with reliable and complete mortality data.

Participants Annual all cause mortality data from the Human Mortality Database for 2005-20, harmonised and disaggregated by age and sex.

Main outcome measures Reduction in life expectancy was estimated as the difference between observed and expected life expectancy in 2020 using the Lee-Carter model. Excess years of life lost were estimated as the difference between the observed and expected years of life lost in 2020 using the World Health Organization standard life table.

Results Reduction in life expectancy in men and women was observed in all the countries studied except New Zealand, Taiwan, and Norway, where there was a gain in life expectancy in 2020. No evidence was found of a change in life expectancy in Denmark, Iceland, and South Korea. The highest reduction in life expectancy was observed in Russia (men: −2.33, 95% confidence interval −2.50 to −2.17; women: −2.14, −2.25 to −2.03), the United States (men: −2.27, −2.39 to −2.15; women: −1.61, −1.70 to −1.51), Bulgaria (men: −1.96, −2.11 to −1.81; women: −1.37, −1.74 to −1.01), Lithuania (men: −1.83, −2.07 to −1.59; women: −1.21, −1.36 to −1.05), Chile (men: −1.64, −1.97 to −1.32; women: −0.88, −1.28 to −0.50), and Spain (men: −1.35, −1.53 to −1.18; women: −1.13, −1.37 to −0.90). Years of life lost in 2020 were higher than expected in all countries except Taiwan, New Zealand, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, and South Korea. In the remaining 31 countries, more than 222 million years of life were lost in 2020, which is 28.1 million (95% confidence interval 26.8m to 29.5m) years of life lost more than expected (17.3 million (16.8m to 17.8m) in men and 10.8 million (10.4m to 11.3m) in women). The highest excess years of life lost per 100 000 population were observed in Bulgaria (men: 7260, 95% confidence interval 6820 to 7710; women: 3730, 2740 to 4730), Russia (men: 7020, 6550 to 7480; women: 4760, 4530 to 4990), Lithuania (men: 5430, 4750 to 6070; women: 2640, 2310 to 2980), the US (men: 4350, 4170 to 4530; women: 2430, 2320 to 2550), Poland (men: 3830, 3540 to 4120; women: 1830, 1630 to 2040), and Hungary (men: 2770, 2490 to 3040; women: 1920, 1590 to 2240). The excess years of life lost were relatively low in people younger than 65 years, except in Russia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, and the US where the excess years of life lost was >2000 per 100 000.

Conclusion More than 28 million excess years of life were lost in 2020 in 31 countries, with a higher rate in men than women. Excess years of life lost associated with the covid-19 pandemic in 2020 were more than five times higher than those associated with the seasonal influenza epidemic in 2015.

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This early ocean predator was a giant ‘swimming head’

Rachel Fritts

Science | September 08, 2021

The mothership has landed. Two years after scientists dubbed one of Earth’s first sea-dwelling predators the “Millennium Falcon” for its sci-fi carapace, the same researchers have identified an even larger spaceshiplike creature at the same site, in Canada’s Burgess Shale. The half-meter-long arthropod, described in a study out today, was essentially a giant “swimming head” that prowled the Cambrian seas half a billion years ago, says Joseph Moysiuk, a paleontologist at the University of Toronto (U of T) who helped uncover the fossil in 2018. “The first word that comes to mind when I think of this new species is big.”

Titanokorys gainesi, whose head takes up nearly half the length of its body, was covered in a domed, spike-tipped carapace that inspired its Latin name: “Titan’s helmet.” The creature likely swam along the ocean floor, Moysiuk says, flushing prey from the mud with appendages built like “baskets of spines” (see video, above). And whereas its spiky helmet might have helped with that digging, its eyes, which sat at the back of its carapace, facing straight up, would have been useless for finding prey. Those were probably for spotting other predators—threats to Titanokorys itself.

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Panda cubs and termite guts — August’s best science images

The month’s sharpest science shots, selected by Nature’s photo team.

Emma Stoye

Nature | September 02, 2021

SEE FULL ARTICLE: https://www.nature.com/immersive/d41586-021-02307-x/index.html?utm_source=Nature+Briefing&utm_campaign=a2b980e54d-briefing-dy-20210903&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c9dfd39373-a2b980e54d-45531014

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Pandemic pressures made parents consider quitting academia

Holly Else

Nature | June 28, 2021

Research scientists work on the development of replicating RNA vaccine at the University of Washington School of Medicine
Medical researchers working on a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine.

The stress of balancing work and home life during the COVID-19 pandemic has left many medical scientists with children questioning their future careers, and women are the hardest hit, according to a survey at a US university.

The study, published on 15 June in JAMA Network Open, concluded that an increase in reported work–life stress since the start of the pandemic “may disproportionately decrease the long-term retention and promotion of junior and midcareer women faculty”1.

Last September, Susan Matulevicius, the assistant dean for faculty wellness at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and her colleagues sent a survey about work–life balance to the more than 3,000 members of academic staff in the university’s faculty of medicine. Just over one-third responded.

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