Dhaka, Jun 30 (UNB) - A study has found that the uptake of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination among schoolgirls in Britain has led to plummeting cervical cancer risk. All schoolgirls in Britain have been offered the HPV vaccine at the age of 12 or 13 since 2008 and later this year, the programme will be extended to boys of the same age, reports the Indian Express.
The study, published in The Lancet medical journal looked at screening programmes involving 60 million people in 14 countries and found levels of the two strands of HPV virus – that are mainly responsible for the cancer – fell 83 per cent in girls aged 13 to 19 after five to eight years of vaccination, and 66 per cent in women aged 20 to 24. The researchers, led by Laval University in Canada, said that if the number of people having the vaccination remains high, the cancer could soon be eliminated.
Study leader Professor Marc Brisson said, ‘What we are working on now is trying to determine when elimination will occur. We don’t have a precise date but we’re trying to determine when it will occur.’
He added that Australian scientists have estimated they could wipe out cervical cancer in their country – which is similar to UK – within a few decades.
Dr David Mesher, of Public Health England, added, ‘There will be a time in the future where we will see very low rates of cervical cancer.’
Around 3,200 British women are diagnosed with the disease every year, while almost 1,000 die from it annually.
The research team also looked at the impact of the vaccination programme on levels of abnormal cells and cervical lesions, known as cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN), which can be early warning signs of cervical cancer.
The higher the CIN grade, the higher the risk of developing invasive cancer.
The researchers found a 51 per cent reduction in CIN2+ lesions – one of the most serious forms – five to nine years after vaccination.
Professor Brisson added, ‘Because of our finding, we believe the World Health Organisation call for action to eliminate cervical cancer may be possible in many countries if sufficient vaccination coverage can be achieved.’
Robert Music, chief executive at UK’s Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said, “This is truly exciting news, which clearly shows the impact of the HPV vaccine in protecting the cervical health of future generations. We’re lucky to have the HPV vaccination programme here in the UK and this study supports the imminent roll-out of the gender-neutral HPV vaccine.”
But he added, “This study also shows the urgent need for all countries without a vaccination programme to be supported in establishing one.”
Dhaka, Jun 30 (UNB) - Preterm birth can change an infant’s brain activity while they are asleep and also affects future brain health, a study has found, reports the Indian Express.
Researchers at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Australia analysed brain activity data collected from 94 infants from Helsinki in Finland.
The study group comprised 42 infants who had been born extremely premature at 27 weeks, and a control group of 52 infants who had been born at full term.
“Quality of sleep is a vital indicator of brain health, particularly in newborn infants, and our study looked at the brain process supporting distinct sleep patterns in preterm and full-term babies when measured about two weeks after the full term due date,” said Dr Luca Cocchi, senior author and head of QIMR Berghofer’s Clinical Brain Networks team.
“We found babies born at full term had marked reorganization of brain activity during different states of sleep, while it wasn’t as distinct in very premature babies,” he said.
“Our study also indicated that the differences in neural sleep activity at 42 weeks could predict a child’s ability to use visual information to solve problems at two years of age,” Cocchi said.
He said that like other behaviours, good sleep relies upon the proper organisation of dynamic patterns of brain activity during different sleep states.
For the study, published in the journal Nature Communications, the researchers used high-density electroencephalography (EEG) and other tools to map interactions between different brain regions when babies were in active sleep and quiet sleep.
“These two stages are key components of a newborn’s sleep-wake cycle, and gradually transform with age into cycles of rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM sleep states such as deep sleep,” said Dr James Roberts, a co-author of the study and head of QIMR Berghofer’s Brain Modelling Group.
“These two stages are key components of a newborn’s sleep-wake cycle, and gradually transform with age into cycles of rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM sleep states such as deep sleep,” he said.
“These tools have been previously used to describe complex systems such as the acoustics of musical instruments, but we’ve been able to adapt it to brain waves in sleeping babies,” Roberts added.
New York, Jun 30 (AP/UNB) — New York is throwing a massive LGBTQ Pride march as other cities including San Francisco, Chicago and Seattle also host parades commemorating the 50th anniversary of the clash between police and gay bar patrons that sparked the modern gay rights movement.
New York's Pride march kicks off at noon Sunday with 677 contingents including community groups, major corporations and cast members from FX's "Pose." Organizers say they expect 150,000 people to march, with hundreds of thousands more lining the streets to watch.
A smaller Queer Liberation March is scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. at the Stonewall Inn, the bar where patrons resisted a police raid in 1969, and will head to Central Park for a rally. The organizers of the queer march say the larger Pride event has become too commercialized and too heavily policed.
The Pride march concludes a month of Stonewall commemorations in New York that included rallies, parties, film showings and a human rights conference. The celebration coincides with WorldPride, an international LGBTQ event that started in Rome in 2000 and was held in New York this past week.
Other Pride events will take place Sunday around the U.S. and the world.
In San Francisco, a contingent of Google employees petitioned the Pride parade's board of directors to revoke Google's sponsorship over what they called harassment and hate speech directed at LGBTQ people on YouTube and other Google platforms.
San Francisco Pride declined to revoke Google's sponsorship or remove the company from the parade, but Pride officials said the Google critics could protest the company's policies as part of the parade's "Resistance Contingent."
In Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, the city's first openly gay mayor, will be one of seven grand marshals.
Dhaka, Jun 30 (UNB)- The ice around Alaska is not just melting. It's gotten so low that the situation is endangering some residents' food and jobs, reports CNN.
"The seas are extraordinarily warm. It is impacting the ability for Americans in the region to put food on the table right now," said University of Alaska climate specialist Rick Thoman.
Ocean temperatures in the Chukchi and North Bering seas are nearly 10 degrees Fahrenheit (five degrees Celsius) above normal, satellite data shows.
"The northern Bering & southern Chukchi Seas are baking," Thoman wrote this week in a tweet.
There are immediate local and commercial impacts along the state's western and northern coastlines, Thoman told CNN. Birds and marine animals are showing up dead, he said, and sea temperatures are warm enough to support algal blooms, which can make the waters toxic to wildlife.
It's a mounting crisis for many coastal Alaska towns that depend on fishing to support their economy and feed people who live here.
"Much of what the people eat there over the course of the year comes from food they harvest themselves," said climatologist Brian Brettschneider at the International Arctic Research Center. "If people can't get out on the ice to hunt seals or whales, that affects their food security. It is a human crisis of survivability."
Events like this -- when weather patterns align to generate extreme consequences -- are also evidence of the growing climate crisis, scientists say.
A perfect storm for warming waters
Ice cover around Alaska normally lasts through the end of May. This year, it disappeared in March, as side-by-side maps showing the same date in March 2013 (left) and 2019 demonstrate, according to the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy.
The unprecedented warming has been driven by southerly winds in the Bering Sea, with warm air from the south melting the ice at an alarming rate. Ocean temperatures in the region also have never been as warm during the peak of summer, based on seasonal averages. And communities in northern and western Alaska have seen temperatures close to their all-time June records.
In short, everything that could have "gone wrong" this year for the ice around Alaska has gone wrong, Brettschneider said.
This is a signal of global warming
The warming is a sure signal of a warming planet and part of the trend of increasing global temperatures, Brettschneider said.
"This event is unquestionably a reflection of our changing climate," he said. "The sea temperatures and sea ice deficits have not happened before as a random event. The mathematics just do not work out."
"These extraordinary warm waters will take awhile to cool off as winter approaches," Thoman said, adding that a later and thinner ice formation is expected in the coming winter.
Meantime, if some conditions change, that won't negate the global warming trend.
"Next year, the winds could turn northerly. That tends to mask a warming signal," Brettschneider said, referring to the long-term warming trend of the planet. "It is just like in the lower 48 (states), where you can have major Arctic outbreaks if the winds are set up in the right direction. That masks an overall warming.
"What is happening in coastal Alaska is what is coming in one sense for everybody else," he told CNN. "Most people are feeling the effects of climate change even if they don't know it. Changes are happening, and changes will be magnified."
Santa Fe, Jun 29 (AP/UNB) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is launching a new effort to craft legislation that could legalize recreational marijuana sales next year.
The first-year Democratic governor announced Friday her recruitment of health, legal and fiscal policy experts to serve in a new discussion group that provides recommendations on state legalization.
Members of the group include Democratic and Republican legislators who sponsored unsuccessful legislation this year to authorize and tax recreational marijuana sales at state run stores. That proposal passed a House vote but stalled in the state Senate.
Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis is leading the so-called cannabis legalization task force.
Other participants represent a labor union, sheriff’s department, health care business, Native American tribe, medical cannabis business, county government association, commercial bank and hospital company.