Author Archives: churchc

Kuwait Becomes First Country to Collect DNA Samples From All Citizens and Visitors: Report

News Week Seung Lee Reuters 19 April 2016

In July 2015, the Kuwaiti government passed the DNA testing law, which is set to go into effect later this year, according to the Kuwait Times. The DNA samples of at least 3.3 million people—gotten from saliva or few drops of blood—will be stored in a lab at the General Department of Criminal Evidence in Dajeej, a suburb about 12 miles south of Kuwait City.

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The Lancet Infectious Diseases – Contents Pages

Table of Contents  |  Volume 16 Issue 5 (May 2016)

Suicide Loss Survivors’ Experiences with Therapy: Implications for Clinical Practice.

Community Ment Health J. 2016 Apr 13.

Over two-thirds of suicide loss survivors, those who have lost a loved one to suicide, seek individual therapy following their loss. However, nothing is known about what survivors find helpful about therapy or how therapy impacts their grief. An online survey was conducted June 2012-March 2013 with a convenience sample of 197 survivors primarily from the USA and Australia to develop a better understanding of treatment seeking loss survivors and their experiences in therapy. Questions explored the experience of the suicide death, the therapy received after the loss, and insights about improving therapy for loss survivors. Participants were generally positive about their therapy experiences. However, respondents endorsed symptoms of PTSD, though many did not report a formal diagnosis from a provider, suggesting a discrepancy that could lead to inadequate treatment of symptoms. The findings provide an understanding of treatment seeking loss survivors, along with implications for therapists treating this population.

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Zika virus in the Americas: Early epidemiological and genetic findings

Brazil has experienced an unprecedented epidemic of Zika virus (ZIKV), with ~30,000 cases reported to date. ZIKV was first detected in Brazil in May 2015, and cases of microcephaly potentially associated with ZIKV infection were identified in November 2015. We performed next-generation sequencing to generate seven Brazilian ZIKV genomes sampled from four self-limited cases, one blood donor, one fatal adult case, and one newborn with microcephaly and congenital malformations. Results of phylogenetic and molecular clock analyses show a single introduction of ZIKV into the Americas, which we estimated to have occurred between May and December 2013, more than 12 months before the detection of ZIKV in Brazil. The estimated date of origin coincides with an increase in air passengers to Brazil from ZIKV-endemic areas, as well as with reported outbreaks in the Pacific Islands. ZIKV genomes from Brazil are phylogenetically interspersed with those from other South American and Caribbean countries. Mapping mutations onto existing structural models revealed the context of viral amino acid changes present in the outbreak lineage; however, no shared amino acid changes were found among the three currently available virus genomes from microcephaly cases. Municipality-level incidence data indicate that reports of suspected microcephaly in Brazil best correlate with ZIKV incidence around week 17 of pregnancy, although this correlation does not demonstrate causation. Our genetic description and analysis of ZIKV isolates in Brazil provide a baseline for future studies of the evolution and molecular epidemiology of this emerging virus in the Americas.

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Dutch push for a quantum leap in open access

Science 15 Apr 2016: Vol. 352, Issue 6283, pp. 279
DOI: 10.1126/science.352.6283.279

The Netherlands is using the European Union’s rotating presidency, which it currently holds, to promote open-access (OA) to the scientific literature. A 2-day meeting held last week produced an Amsterdam Call to Action that included the ambition to make all new papers published in the European Union freely available by 2020. Carlos Moedas, the European commissioner for research and innovation, favors an ambitious approach as well, and a meeting of Europe’s ministers of research, innovation, and industry may adopt ambitious targets next month. The Netherlands is an OA front-runner itself, although some are critical of the country’s emphatic choice for Gold OA, in which authors pay publishers to make their papers freely available.

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Neglected Tropical Diseases in the Post-Genomic Era.

Trends Genet. 2015 Oct;31(10):539-55. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2015.06.002.

Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a group of viral, bacterial, and eukaryotic parasitic diseases that are especially endemic in low-income populations, with a large health and economic impact on both the developing and developed world. The structure and dynamics of the genomes of the organisms causing these diseases, as well as the modes of expression, exchange, and transmission of their genetic information, often deviate from those found in classical, model organism-centric textbooks. We assess the role of basic and applied genetic research in our understanding of key aspects of their biology and evolution, and discuss the impact of novel high-throughput approaches spawned by the post-genomic era on the development of next-generation drugs, vaccines, molecular epidemiology, and/or diagnostic tools for these important pathogens.

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Her career began in fast food and today she’s a forensic biologist. Kirsty Wright talks forensics.

ABC News | 612 ABC Radio Anne Debert 18 April 2016

Kirsty Wright is a forensic biologist.  She works with the police. Her specialty is disaster victim identification and missing persons.

[Indirect references to work / cases from time working at FSS at 8-11 mins, including references to Coronial Counsellors]

Listen to interview (38 mins 22 sec)