A new study says US communities that made using face masks in public compulsory saw a decline in the spread of coronavirus.
After five days of mask mandates, the daily coronavirus growth rate slowed by just under 1 percent, while after 21 days, it slowed by about 2 percent, according to the study, reports Xinhua.
Researchers from the Department of Health Management and Policy at the University of Iowa College of Public Health reported the study result in the journal Health Affairs.
Between April 8 and May 15, governors of 15 US states and the mayor of Washington, DC signed orders to place mask mandates in public. The researchers studied changes in the daily county-level COVID-19 growth rates between March 31 and May 22.
They also projected the number of averted COVID-19 cases with the mandates for face mask use in public by comparing actual cumulative daily cases with daily cases predicted by a model if none of the states had enacted the public face cover mandate at the time they did.
The model estimates suggested that 230,000-450,000 cases may have been averted by May 22 due to these mandates.
The US is currently the worst coronavirus affected country in the world with 4,717,568 confirmed cases and 155,469 deaths.
Coronavirus cases were first reported in China in December last year. The World Health Organization declared it a pandemic in March.
The race for developing a vaccine is on but it is unclear when it will be available. Health experts suggest maintaining personal hygiene, washing hands regularly with soap and running water or alcohol based substance, wearing masks in public and maintaining physical distance from others as measures to curb the virus’ spread.
The young generation has to learn from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s nationalism, wisdom and internationalism to progress in the unprecedented times of 21st century, Professor Dr Haider A Khan has said.
Khan, a Distinguished Professor of Economics at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver and a member of the Advisory Board of Cosmos Foundation, was addressing a webinar on Thursday to commemorate the birth centenary of Bangabandhu, the founding father of Bangladesh.
The Center for the Study of Genocide and Justice (CSGJ) of the Liberation War Museum arranged a webinar titled ‘Bangabandhu, Nationalism and Internationalism: Lessons for Today’.
Speakers at the webinar discussed how Bangabandhu emerged as the key charismatic leader of the movement for political, economic and cultural self-determination.
Liberation War Museum trustee Mofidul Hoque said the lecture series was part of their effort to observe the birth centenary of Bangabandhu.
“We need to study his life, his contribution and his role in history. Every year we organise a lecture in August but this year is very special as it’s the birth centenary of Bangabandhu so we started this very special series focusing on many different aspects of his life. We are very happy that we are initiating this lecture series with Prof Dr Haider A Khan,” Hoque said.
He said they are organising the discussion virtually for the first time due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “Even though the doors at the Liberation War Museum are closed now, we’re opening our windows through this social media platform to use it effectively and meaningfully with lectures like this,” Mofidul Hoque said.
Lifelong commitment to democratic ideals
Dr Khan expressed his gratitude to LWM for arranging the webinar and explained that his agenda is to make the young generation aware of the eventful life and aspects of Bangabandhu as a journeyman behind the emergence of Bangladesh.
“For me, it is a lifelong project - and for as long as I am able to write and think, I will continue this,” he said.
Dr Khan discussed a brief manifesto through a set of 11 points of thought and action for the young generation to learn from the life of Bangabandhu. He also discussed his personal experience on what it was like to be alive during the most important political decade in the history of Bangladesh.
In the second part, he briefly discussed the main trajectory of the struggle since the founding of Pakistan until the beginning of Bangladesh’s Liberation War in 1971.
In the final part of his lecture, Dr Khan discussed Bangabandhu's internationalism and international activities after his return in early 1972 in Bangladesh.
“Bangabandhu’s internationalism was not a certain development [but] it was there throughout his life - from his earliest days of political involvement and certainly from the founding of Awami League in 1949 onwards.
“Throughout his life, Bangabandhu has been committed to deeply democratic ideals. Not just parliamentary democracy in its formal manifestation, but really the democracy of the people, for the people, by the people,” Dr Khan said.
The exact location where Dutch master Vincent van Gogh painted his last work has been identified after being hidden in plain view for years among a tangle of roots next to a rural lane near Paris.
The discovery by Wouter van der Veen, scientific director of the Van Gogh Institute in France, provides a new glimpse of the artist in his final hours.
Experts say the discovery sheds new light on the anguished painter's mental state on the day he is widely believed to have fatally shot himself.
“Tree Roots,” was visible on a faded picture postcard featuring a man standing next to a bicycle on a back street of the village of Auvers-sur-Oise, 35 kilometers (21 miles) north of Paris.
Van Gogh spent the last weeks of his life in the village and completed dozens of paintings there. Helpfully, the card even included the name of the street.
It means art historians can now see that Van Gogh worked on the painting until the end of the afternoon, meaning he spent much of the day concentrating on the canvas.
“There has been a lot of speculation about his state of mind, but one thing that is very clear is that he spent quite a bit longer working on this painting right through the afternoon. We know that from the light fall in the work,” Emilie Gordenker, director of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Wednesday. “So, you know, he really was at work right up to the end.”
The painting, which is not considered to have been completed by Van Gogh, hangs in the Amsterdam museum. Gordenker said its composition and execution — a tight focus on gnarled roots on a hillside — have led to it being seen as a “harbinger of abstraction.”
Van Gogh never got to further develop the painting style.
According to the museum’s version of Van Gogh’s life, after working on “Tree Roots” the artist walked into a nearby field of wheat later in the day and shot himself in the chest with a pistol.
He died two days later, on July 29, 1890, aged 37. Two American authors cast doubt on the theory in 2011, suggesting the artist was shot by two teenage boys.
Van der Veen believes the museum's version of events and agrees his new discovery shows that Van Gogh had his wits about him and was methodical in his thinking before he pulled the trigger to kill himself.
“So the final steps were also something he carefully thought about," he said. "So it was a lucid decision. It was not a fit of madness.”
The new discovery was made, in part, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
While stuck at home during France's two-month lockdown, Van der Veen used the extra time to organize his numerous files and documents on Van Gogh, including digitizing images such as the old postcard from Auvers-sur-Oise.
One day in late April, during a phone conversation, he saw the card on his computer screen and it suddenly struck him that he was looking at the location of “Tree Roots.” Next to the man and his bicycle, roots and trees are clearly visible.
“It was an epiphany," he said. "A revelation.”
He wasn't able to visit the site for several weeks, but had a friend in the village visit and also took a virtual trip down the lane using Google's Street View.
Villagers know the spot and the main tree root well, even giving it the name “the elephant” because of its shape, Van der Veen said.
”It was really hiding in plain sight and it was even a little bit disguised as it had taken another identity,” he added.
The researcher says that while his discovery has given art historians more to mull about Van Gogh's last working day, it also provides tourists with an extra reason to visit Auvers-sur-Oise.
The French village already draws tens of thousands of visitors each year because of its links to Van Gogh, who spent his final weeks there and is buried in the village's cemetery alongside his brother, Theo.
Aiming to lower the incidence of liver cancer among patients with hepatitis B, China has launched a research project on Tuesday, marking the World Hepatitis Day.
It was sponsored by the Chinese Foundation for Hepatitis Prevention and Control, reports Xinhua
It will observe and study the five-year incidence of liver cancer among 20,000 chronic hepatitis B patients in 99 hospitals across the country.
It aims to optimise the clinical treatment path of hepatitis B antiviral therapy and explore ways of reducing the incidence of liver cancer linked to hepatitis B.
Zhang Wenhong, a leading expert working on the project, said that they hope long-term treatment and observation can answer questions that traditional clinical trials cannot, like what's the difference in liver cancer incidence between different therapies.
According to data from 2019, primary liver cancer is the fourth most common malignant tumor and the second leading cause of death among all kinds of tumors in China.
It is estimated that 85 percent of China's liver cancer patients have been infected with the hepatitis B virus.
Scientists found an experimental blood test highly accurate at distinguishing people with Alzheimer’s disease from those without it in several studies.
It is boosting hopes that there soon may be a simple way to help diagnose this most common form of dementia.
Developing such a test has been a long-sought goal, and scientists warn that the new approach still needs more validation and is not yet ready for wide use. But Tuesday’s results suggest they’re on the right track.
The testing identified people with Alzheimer’s vs. no dementia or other types of it with accuracy ranging from 89% to 98%.
“That’s pretty good. We’ve never seen that” much precision in previous efforts, said Maria Carrillo, the Alzheimer’s Association’s chief science officer.
Dr. Eliezer Masliah, neuroscience chief at the U.S. National Institute on Aging, agreed.
“The data looks very encouraging,” he said. The new testing “appears to be even more sensitive and more reliable” than earlier methods, but it needs to be tried in larger, more diverse populations, he said.
The institute had no role in these studies but financed earlier, basic research toward blood test development.
Results were discussed at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference taking place online because of the coronavirus pandemic. Some results also were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
More than 5 million people in the United States and many more worldwide have Alzheimer’s. Current drugs only temporarily ease symptoms and do not slow mental decline.
The disease is usually diagnosed through tests of memory and thinking skills, but that’s very imprecise and usually involves a referral to a neurologist. More reliable methods such as spinal fluid tests and brain scans are invasive or expensive, so a simple blood test that could be done in a family doctor's office would be a big advance.
Last year, scientists reported encouraging results from experimental blood tests that measure abnormal versions of amyloid, one of two proteins that build up and damage Alzheimer’s patients’ brains. The new work focuses on the other protein — tau — and finds that one form of it called p-tau217 is a more reliable indicator. Several companies and universities have developed experimental p-tau217 tests.
Dr. Oskar Hansson of Lund University in Sweden led a study of Eli Lilly’s test on more than 1,400 people already enrolled in dementia studies in Sweden, Arizona and Colombia. They included people with no impairment, mild impairment, Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases.
Scientists at the University of California, San Francisco, found it helped distinguish people with Alzheimer’s from those with another neurological disease — frontotemporal lobar degeneration — with 96% accuracy in a study of 617 people.
Dr. Suzanne Schindler of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, also found p-tau217 better than some other indicators for revealing which patients had plaques in the brain — the hallmark of Alzheimer’s.
“When patients come to me with changes in their memory and thinking, one of the major questions is, what’s the cause? Is it Alzheimer’s disease or is it something else?” she said. If tau testing bears out, “it would help us diagnose people earlier and more accurately.”
Schindler has already launched a larger study in a diverse population in St. Louis. Researchers have done the same in Sweden.
If benefits are confirmed, Masliah, Carrillo and others say they hope a commercial test would be ready for wide use in about two years.