Most US athletes in survey want Olympic delay: report

first_imgWhen asked if they supported the Tokyo Olympics going ahead as scheduled from July 24-August 9, 41 percent replied they did not back that idea with 34% percent saying the matter was complicated and more information was needed.The two-hour meeting also included athletes being asked when a decision should be made on what to do with the Tokyo Olympics, with a third saying the choice needed to come as soon as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has enough information.Almost a quarter wanted a decision no later than April 15, while 18 percent wanted an immediate decision.USOPC board chair Susanne Lyons said Friday her group will defer to the IOC as it gathers information from around the world. Topics : Almost three-quarters of the 300 US athletes who took part in a virtual town hall with US Olympic officials support delaying the 2020 Tokyo Games, USA Today reported Sunday.The poll followed calls to postpone the Olympics due to the global coronavirus pandemic by USA Swimming and USA Track & Field — the federations set to send the most American athletes to Japan in an expected delegation of more than 600 competitors.In all, 70 percent of the athletes supported a postponement with another 23 percent saying it would depend on the consequences of such a move, according to details of the weekend poll given to the newspaper by a member of the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) Athletes Advisory Council who participated in the meeting.center_img “At this point in time, we do not feel that it’s necessary for us to insist that they make a decision,” Lyons said.Nathan Adrian, a five-time US Olympic relay swim champion, says he doesn’t want to compete under current conditions.”I would have real moral objections, if the situation was the same as it was today, to competing,” Adrian told USA Today.US hammer thrower Gwen Berry told the newspaper she worries over the IOC’s decision.”I feel the IOC is being really, really selfish in trying to push it,” she said. “And there’s no need to push it.”Some US athletes told the newspaper about the disruption to training that safety measures to avoid spreading coronavirus have caused, including six-time US all-around men’s gymnastics champion Sam Mikulak, who has struggled to find access to equipment to train upon.”I’ve had a plan for four years to do Olympic-level routines, and right now I’d have to drop back to my basic routines,” Mikulak said.”It’s really throwing a four-year preparation out the window if they keep doing this.”last_img read more

WHO says reviewing NYT article on concerns over airborne spread of COVID-19

first_imgThe World Health Organization (WHO) is reviewing a report that suggested its advice on the novel coronavirus needs updating, after some scientists told the New York Times there was evidence the virus could be spread by tiny particles in the air.The WHO says the COVID-19 disease spreads primarily through small droplets, which are expelled from the nose and mouth when an infected person breaths them out in coughs, sneezes, speech or laughter and quickly sink to the ground.In an open letter to the Geneva-based agency, 239 scientists in 32 countries outlined the evidence they say shows that smaller exhaled particles can infect people who inhale them, the newspaper said on Saturday. “Especially in the last couple of months, we have been stating several times that we consider airborne transmission as possible but certainly not supported by solid or even clear evidence,” Benedetta Allegranzi, the WHO’s technical lead for infection prevention and control, was quoted as saying in the New York Times.WHO guidance to health workers, dated June 29, says that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is primarily transmitted between people through respiratory droplets and on surfaces.But airborne transmission via smaller particles is possible in some circumstances, such as when performing intubation and aerosol generating procedures, it says.Medical workers performing such procedures should wear heavy duty N95 respiratory masks and other protective equipment in an adequately ventilated room, the WHO says.Officials at South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control said on Monday they were continuing to discuss various issues about COVID-19, including the possible airborne transmission. They said more investigations and evidence were needed. Because those smaller particles can linger in the air longer, the scientists – who plan to publish their findings in a scientific journal this week – are urging WHO to update its guidance, the Times said.”We are aware of the article and are reviewing its contents with our technical experts,” WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said in an email reply on Monday to a Reuters request for comment.The extent to which the coronavirus can be spread by the so-called airborne or aerosol route – as opposed to by larger droplets in coughs and sneezes – remains disputed.Any change in the WHO’s assessment of risk of transmission could affect its current advice on keeping 1-metre physical distancing. Governments, which also rely on the agency for guidance policy, may also have to adjust public health measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.center_img Topics :last_img read more

USC lab links genetic mutation to Alzheimer’s

first_imgA team of USC researchers led by Paul Thompson, director of the USC Imaging Genetics Center, published  findings that Alzheimer’s patients are affected by the disease three years earlier than expected.Their work, which was published in last week’s edition of The New England Journal of Medicine, goes into depth about carriers of the TREM2 gene variant, a genetic mutation that was linked to Alzheimer’s earlier this year. This edition of the journal, also included five other studies focusing on the TREM2 gene variant.“You can study all kinds of factors like exercise, diet, medication and even stress. This study is a little different, where you search through your DNA and find spelling errors or mutations that increase your risk of Alzheimer’s,” Thompson said. Besides his role as director, Thompson is also a professor of neurology, psychiatry, radiology, engineering and ophthalmology, as well as an associate director of the Institute for Neuroimaging and Informatics.The study’s co-authors include postdoctoral researcher Priya Rajagopalan and assistant professor Derrek Hibar of the USC Imaging Genetics Center, where a team of more than 30 researchers worked on the project. Thompson and his colleague Arthur Toga moved from UCLA to USC this fall, bringing the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging and their work on brain mapping and neuroimaging diseases such as Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia and depression, with them.“We’ve been tracking the disease for some time and one question that we studied is what it is that slows Alzheimer’s, and what is it that speeds it up and if there’s anything we can do to resist the illness,” Thompson said.The Imaging Genetics Center was specifically working on researching Alzheimer’s disease for 20 years before this breakthrough, Thompson said.The TREM2 gene variant is a gene mutation carried by 1 percent of the population. By mapping the effects of genetic mutation with brain magnetic resonance imaging scans, the lab became the first to show how this Alzheimer’s risk factor affects a living human brain.Through the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, the study recruited 478 adults from North America, 100 of whom had Alzheimer’s disease, 221 who had mild cognitive impairment and 157 healthy elderly adults. The study showed a dramatic loss in brain tissue. In comparison to the less than 1 percent per year rate of healthy people, which is also offset by normal tissue generation from mental stimulation, the carriers of TREM2 lose about 3 percent of their brain tissue per year. Alzheimer’s occurs when approximately 10 percent of brain tissue has eroded.Thompson clarified the benefits of the study. The discovery can significantly speed up drug trials. According to Thompson, if there is a new successful Alzheimer’s medication that needs drug trials, people won’t have to wait three to four years for the brain to degenerate, and the results will be more apparent.“Also, it gives us a lot of understanding about what Alzheimer’s disease is,” Thompson said. “We used think that Alzheimer’s comes from senile plaques, building up in your brain, and basically clogging up your brain. That is certainly true, but the people carrying this risk gene have a problem with inflammation in their brain.”This connection could aid in the development different kinds of anti-inflammatory treatments that might ameliorate the condition of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s, even though there still isn’t a cure.Some students said they weren’t sure how the study could positively impact current Alzheimer’s patients.“I understand that finding this gene mutation that causes the brain to degrade the brain faster is a breakthrough, but I don’t feel as though it is that helpful because there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s,” said Tiffany Tse, a sophomore majoring in biological sciences.Other students were optimistic about the results of the study.“Even though there’s no way to eradicate it yet, I definitely think this is an optimistic step in the right direction that might eventually lead to greater onset prevention,” said Helen Chou, a sophomore majoring in neuroscience.Many were impressed that USC was the first to make these discoveries.“I think they discovered something important that could be used in innovative treatments for Alzheimer’s, and it’s that much more important because of how it’s one of the first research projects that has shown these results,” said Sandy Lin, a sophomore majoring in human biology.Currently, Thompson’s team is working on ways of bettering the lives of Alzheimer’s patients.“Things like staying fit and rigorous cardiovascular activity can protect the brain as we age, but what we want to know is, how much exercise?” he said. “Or can you achieve the results … through other forms of stimulation like education?”last_img read more