Could More Coffee Bring a Healthier Microbiome?

By Elizabeth Heubeck        
       HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Oct. 28, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Debating whether or not you should have that second cup of coffee?

New research that links caffeine consumption to a healthy gut microbiome — the trillions of microorganisms that live in your digestive tract and affect your overall health– may prompt you to pour generously.

In recent years, numerous studies have demonstrated associations between coffee consumption and lowered health risks of all sorts — from type 2 diabetes to certain cancers to Parkinson’s disease.

Simultaneously, accumulating evidence suggests that the makeup of your gut microbiome can affect your health, either by promoting or reducing the risk of diseases.

Connecting the dots between these two health premises, a new study found the microbiomes of regular coffee drinkers were considerably healthier than those who consumed little to no coffee.

“We still need to learn more about how the bacteria and the host [our bodies] interact to impact our health,” said lead study author Dr. Li Jiao, an associate professor of medicine-gastroenterology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

But her advice for now? “If you love coffee, enjoy it. Follow your gut.”

The new findings were to be presented Monday at the American College of Gastroenterology annual meeting, in San Antonio, Texas.

In the study, scientists for the first time ever took gut microbiome samples directly from various parts of the colon during colonoscopies. (Other studies have examined just stool samples).

Overall, the 34 participants who drank two or more cups of coffee daily throughout the previous year exhibited better gut microbiome profiles than those who consumed less or no coffee, Jiao’s team reported.

Heavy coffee drinkers’ bacterial species were more abundant and more evenly distributed throughout the large intestine, richer in anti-inflammatory properties, and considerably less likely to include Erysipelatoclostridium, a type of bacteria linked to metabolic abnormalities and obesity.

Jiao said it remains uncertain why coffee exerts such a positive influence on the gut microbiome. But she suggested that caffeine or other nutrients in coffee may impact the metabolism of bacteria and, in turn, how the bacterial metabolites — the end products of that metabolism — affect your body.


While scientists may not completely understand the mechanisms behind coffee’s impact on the microbiome, they are becoming increasingly convinced of the importance of gut contents to overall health.

“The gut microbiome seems to be the missing link between diet and the incidence of chronic diseases,” said Dr. Hana Kahleova, director of Clinical Research at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. She was not involved with the study.

For instance, explained Kahleova, individuals who eat a typical Western diet high in fat and processed foods tend to house in their gut more endotoxins, toxic components of “bad” bacteria associated with obesity, insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease. Conversely, she suggested that coffee’s polyphenols and other antioxidants, compounds naturally found in plant foods, are likely what’s providing a healthier microbiome.

But you don’t have to rely on coffee for your gut to absorb these health benefits. “All plants in their natural state are rich in fiber, polyphenols and antioxidants that help us fight cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” Kahleova said.

That’s good news for people who don’t drink coffee, and don’t plan to start. Benefits notwithstanding, coffee isn’t for everyone. It can aggravate a sensitive stomach, worsen insomnia or pose a danger to individuals with certain heart conditions.

But for the countless number of people who love coffee and can’t imagine cutting it out of their diet, this study may come as a relief. It turns out that drinking one or two cups of coffee a day probably won’t induce any harm, and may even provide some protective health benefits.

Because this research was presented at a medical meeting, it should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

WebMD News from HealthDay


SOURCES: Li Jiao, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor, medicine-gastroenterology, Baylor College of Medicine, and researcher, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, Houston; Hana Kahleova, M.D., Ph.D., director, clinical research, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine; Oct. 28, 2019, presentation, American College of Gastroenterology annual meeting, San Antonio, Texas

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

‘); } else { // If we match both our test Topic Ids and Buisness Ref we want to place the ad in the middle of page 1 if($ .inArray(window.s_topic, moveAdTopicIds) > -1 && $ .inArray(window.s_business_reference, moveAdBuisRef) > -1){ // The logic below reads count all nodes in page 1. Exclude the footer,ol,ul and table elements. Use the varible // moveAdAfter to know which node to place the Ad container after. window.placeAd = function(pn) { var nodeTags = [‘p’, ‘h3′,’aside’, ‘ul’], nodes, target; nodes = $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(‘ + pn + ‘)’).find(nodeTags.join()).not(‘p:empty’).not(‘footer *’).not(‘ol *, ul *, table *’); //target = nodes.eq(Math.floor(nodes.length / 2)); target = nodes.eq(moveAdAfter); $ (”).insertAfter(target); } // Currently passing in 1 to move the Ad in to page 1 window.placeAd(1); } else { // This is the default location on the bottom of page 1 $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(1)’).append(”); } } })(); $ (function(){ // Create a new conatiner where we will make our lazy load Ad call if the reach the footer section of the article $ (‘.main-container-3’).prepend(”); });


WebMD Health

Aniplex, Funimation Bring ‘Rascal Does Not Dream’ Movie to NorAm Theaters

Aniplex of America, in partnership with Funimation Films proudly, will present anime feature Rascal Does Not Dream of a Dreaming Girl in select theaters in the U.S. on October 2 and 3, and in Canada on October 4 and 5 — following its U.S. premiere at Anime Expo in July. Based on Hajime Kamoshida’s best-selling light novel that explores the complexities of growing up in the modern age, the film picks up from where the immensely popular Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai TV series left off.

Rascal Does Not Dream of a Dreaming Girl is the only feature-length film of the fan-favorite anime series, which has been widely praised for its authenticity and approach on relatable social topics plaguing millennials, such as cyber bullying, peer pressure and falling victim to false gossip and rumors. The film makes its way to over 200 theaters across the U.S. and Canada with advance tickets for the two-night engagement going on sale September 6.

“We are thrilled to bring Rascal Does Not Dream of a Dreaming Girl to U.S. theaters,” said Shu Nishimoto, President of Aniplex of America. “The Rascal Does Not Dream series has taught us the importance of kindness and compassion; and the film is somewhat a love letter to all the fans who followed the TV series. As the truth behind some unanswered questions fans had during the series are revealed, fans will find themselves both laughing and crying in theaters as our protagonist faces his most challenging predicament.”

“We are very proud to partner with Aniplex of America to bring this touching film to North American audiences,” said Colin Decker, General Manager of Funimation. “The story and themes are timeless and will appeal to fans of the series and first-time viewers alike.”

Rascal Does Not Dream of a Dreaming Girl stars popular voice actor Kaito Ishikawa (My Hero Academia, Haikyu!!, One Punch Man) as the main character, Sakuta Azusagawa, who finds himself in an unpleasant dilemma of having to house his first love and childhood crush, Shoko Makinohara, voiced by Inori Minase (The Anthem of the Heart, Re:ZERO), due to the mysterious “puberty syndrome,” which is causing two Shokos to exist – an adult Shoko and a middle school Shoko. With the help of his beloved girlfriend, Mai Sakurajima, voiced by Asami Seto (Chihayafuru, Bungo Stray Dogs), Sakuta must unravel the cause behind this “puberty syndrome.”

The film is produced by CloverWorks (The Promised Neverland, PERSONA5 the Animation), directed by Soichi Masui, with screenplay by Masahiro Yokotani (Free!, Re:ZERO – Starting Life in Another World –) and character design by Satomi Tamura (Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend, Kiznaiver) who also serves as chief animation director. The film premiered in Japan on June 15 and grossed over $ 3.7 million (JPY) in ticket sales.

Since premiering in October 2018, the TV series has garnered much critical acclaim, being featured in both Polygon and Thrillist’s list of “The Best Anime of 2018.” The series was also voted Anime Trending Award 2019’s “Romance Anime of the Year,” “Supernatural Anime of the Year” and “Best in Adaptation” in addition to winning “Best Girl Award” for heroine Mai Sakurajima at the Crunchyroll Anime Awards 2019.

Aniplex of America will be releasing the complete Blu-ray set of the TV series, Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai, on November 19. All episodes of the series are also currently available on FunimationNow, Crunchyroll and Hulu.

More info at

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai

Animation Magazine

We Are Royale, Artolution Bring Refugee Kids’ Art to Life in Animated AR Mural

Creative production studio We Are Royale has partnered with Artolution, an international community-based public art organization, to bring its latest public mural to life with augmented reality. Located in New York City’s East Village, the mural highlights the stories, struggles and dreams of immigrant and refugee youth seeking safety in the United States.

Fifteen teenagers and children from Central America created original artwork for the mural under the mentorship of Artolution artists. The project provided an educational and therapeutic experience for the children, who are clients of KIND (Kids in Need of Defense), a non-profit that provides pro-bono legal services to unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children.

The AR experience launched during a public event on August 28 in front of the mural, located on the Key Food supermarket on Avenue A. Using an iOS and Android compatible app (in English and Spanish), visitors can hold their smartphones up to view the mural, and the characters in the artwork will emerge from the wall, moving and dancing — and learn more about this meaningful initiative.

Artolution tasked We Are Royale with bringing vitality the youths’ art through animation and AR. The project marks the second partnership between Artolution co-founder Joel Bregner and We Are Royale, following the mural-based teaser campaign Amazon Prime Video series Goliath, starring Billy Bob Thornton.

“This project was an incredible experience for all of us who were involved,” said Bergner. “I enjoyed partnering with [We Are Royale ECD and Partner] Brien [Holman] and the whole Royale team as we guided our youth participants in the creation of their own characters, which were manifested through the mural, mask-making, and performance. The animation and augmented reality elements were especially exciting, as this is the first time that an AR mural has been created with youth, so we all had the sense that we were making history.”

For We Are Royale, this project brought together many of the studio’s skill sets and passions: contributing time and resources to social awareness projects, and fluidly designing for various mediums, from character and app design to UX and AR. To create the character animations, We Are Royale took inspiration from the video footage the team shot of the young artists doing their dance choreography at the close of the mural unveiling event last month.

“We wanted to faithfully recreate what the participants created,” said Holman. “While we provided some guidance on how best to design their characters for the animation and AR aspect of the project, the youth actually took the lead in directing us. Ultimately, this was about empowering them through art. It was amazing to see how everyone opened up in the process — and all the credit goes to Joel and his team at Artolution who dedicate their lives to making beautiful initiatives like this happen.”

Bregner concluded, “This creative platform that the project has given these young people is especially important given the challenges that they’ve faced fleeing from violence and conflict, and starting over in a new country. It’s critical that we create these opportunities for displaced children to build community, shape their own narratives, and begin the healing process after the trauma they’ve experienced. The arts and technology are powerful tools to achieve this.”



Artolution is an international, community-based public art organization based in New York City which seeks to ignite social change through collaborative art-making, bringing together diverse communities in the face of conflict and social exclusion in order to address the trauma and challenges that they face.

We Are Royale is an award-winning creative production studio with offices in L.A. and Seattle. Founded in 2007, the company is known for its end-to-end creative solutions, diverse capabilities and fluency across platforms.

Animation Magazine

For Kids With Asthma, Allergies, New School Year Can Bring Flare-Ups

SUNDAY, Aug. 4, 2019 — As kids head back to school, it’s important for parents to keep potential asthma and allergy challenges in mind.

“In the fall, allergists see an increase in kids’ visits for allergies and asthma because of a combination of factors,” said Dr. Todd Mahr, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). “And hospitals see what’s known as the ‘September Spike’ because kids who have been off asthma controller medications for the summer start experiencing flare-ups in the fall.”

As a new school year begins, kids are exposed to allergens in the classroom, on playing fields and in the cafeteria that many probably haven’t run into all summer, he said in an ACAAI news release. On top of that, it’s ragweed season — a terrible time of year for kids who are allergic.

Mahr suggests parents meet with their child’s allergist this month to create an allergy action plan.

Parents should also try to identify potential asthma and allergy triggers that their children may encounter at school. These may include chemical compounds from new carpeting, pollen drifting into classrooms through open windows, or mold in bathrooms.

Parents should discuss potential triggers with teachers and school administrators to help ease symptoms.

Children with asthma or allergies should still be able to play any sport as long as they follow their allergist’s advice, according to the ACAAI.

While physical activity can cause airways to constrict, if your child’s asthma is under control, he or she should be able to participate. Make sure coaches and physical education teachers know what to do if a problem arises.

If your child has a food allergy, make sure the school is fully informed. Work with your allergist and school staff to develop an action plan that lists foods your child is allergic to, treatment procedures and emergency contact information, the ACAAI advised.

Be sure your child understands what to do if he or she suffers an allergy or asthma emergency at school. They should carry and know how to use asthma and anaphylaxis medications, and school staff also should know how to administer them.

More information

The American Lung Association has more advice for parents of children with asthma.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: August 2019 – Daily MedNews

Fowl ref! Scotland bring out the rubber chickens at World Cup

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football – Women’s World Cup – Scotland Training – Allianz Riviera, Nice, France – June 8, 2019 Scotland’s Joanne Love and Fiona Brown during training REUTERS/Eric Gaillard/File Photo

(Reuters) – Scotland’s hopes of reaching the last 16 at their maiden women’s World Cup were dented by defeat to England in their opener but they have responded by bringing out their secret weapon for their next game against Japan – rubber chickens.

Footage posted on the Scottish national team’s Facebook site showed players haring around the training field in a bizarre game of tag in which they attempt to avoid being touched, or in some cases whacked, by the squeaky rubber fowl.

“Do not get touched by the chicken,” yells a coach in one of the videos as attacker Fiona Brown smacks a team mate over and over with it.

The Scots will hope to get their campaign back on track with a win over Japan on Friday and forward Lisa Evans said there was much to build on from their performance against England.

“We’ve lost our first game, but I think we just need to put that behind us now. We can take the positives from that game and work on the negative aspects,” she said.

“The goal hasn’t changed, whether that be finishing in first, second or potentially third place, our goal is to get out of that group.

“We see that as achievable and that’’s what we’re looking to do.”

Scotland round out their Group D campaign against Argentina on June 19.

Reporting by Peter Rutherford in Seoul; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Bring Classical Musicians and Cannabis to Your House Party

Colorado has some music venues that are notorious for ignoring cannabis use, but most of those places aren’t booking classical music. Groupmuse, a network of event organizers and musicians, has been setting up small and large classical music shows in both private homes and public venues across the country for over five years, but now it wants to expand accessibility. So last month, Groupmuse began hosting cannabis-friendly shindigs, or “groupmuses,” in Boulder and Denver, setting up private parties with local musicians so that attendees could enjoy their tunes at a new, higher level.

We caught up with Groupmuse founder Sam Bodkin to learn more about these new, intimate music sessions, and how consuming cannabis can further connect both listeners and performers to the classical canon.

Westword: What is Groupmuse, and how did the concept arrive in Denver?

Sam Bodkin: Groupmuse is an online network that connects local classical musicians with folks, so that the community can create its own classical music house parties, open to friends and community members. It’s a community built around these culturally, socially and spiritually enriching evenings happening all over the country. They’re free to host, anyone can do it, and everyone who attends is expected to give a minimum of $ 10 to the performers. It’s about bringing new audiences to classical music and creating opportunities for players to make money and build a crowd, but it’s more about creating meaningful opportunities for communities to gather and share something profound together — and to connect and build lasting bonds over that experience.

We’ve had over 4,000 nationwide groupmuses, and our first few in Denver started around four years ago thanks to a few motivated local musicians who loved the concept. Recently, however, we’ve brought on some on-the-ground organizational help in Denver and Boulder, so our presence here is slowly scaling up.

When did you decide to start including cannabis in the Groupmuse sessions?

Marijuana Deals Near You

The first 4/20-muses were in Portland, where we were working with an awesome growing operation that sponsored the evenings with free green. Folks loved them, so we thought we’d bring the idea eastward. Part of the reason we think the idea makes so much sense is that the 4/20 community is so vibrant and dynamic, but it lacks spaces for folks to come together to commune over the sacred herb. After all, there aren’t [enough] sanctioned hash bars where folks can gather and get to know each other over a joint.

The fact that a groupmuse is both semi-public (half the crowd is friends of the host, and half is members of the Groupmuse community, which anyone can join) and happens in our private residences means we have a really cool workaround. Groupmuse can be a place where the cannabis community comes together and blends with other communities over these really mind-blowing works of art. It didn’t take long for us to decide that we needed to bring the initiative to Denver and Boulder. However, our growing and supply partner isn’t active locally, so we just decided that if anyone wants to host a 4/20 groupmuse in Denver, Groupmuse will gift your crew an eighth for the evening.

Groupmuse has helped host over 4,000 different parties.

Groupmuse has helped host over 4,000 different parties.

Erin Pearlman

How does cannabis affect the way we consume music?

Everyone’s experience is their own, but I’ve found that cannabis substantially opens up my sensitivity and receptivity to the textural and emotional swells of music — and I think that’s especially true with classical music, which has so much subtlety, depth and dynamism. We think that not only will cannabis bring members of the Groupmuse community closer to each other, it will also bring folks closer to this form of music that has so much to say, even after 200 years.

Have you held any cannabis sessions in Denver or Boulder yet?

We had a 4/20-muse on 4/20 in Boulder! Everyone loved it, which is part of the reason we decided to do this promotion, gifting free green to anyone who wants to host a 4/20-muse of their own.

Let’s say I wanted to host one of these cannabis-friendly shindigs. How would I go about setting that up?

Real simple: Reach out to David, our local community manager, at, and say you want to host a 4/20-muse. It’ll only take you a couple minutes to set up your first event. We match you with great local classical musicians, bring some nuggets to the performance and let the magic flow. And if a couple of friends who are at your 4/20-muse are inspired to host one of their own, we’ll gift some free supply for their event, too! I’ll add that if the demand is too explosive, we might have to consider taking a step back from the rather generous offer of free weed, but that would be a good problem to have!

How have musicians responded to these cannabis sessions?

Our feedback from musicians has been great. We’re told that the audiences are very attentive — even mind-blown, you might say. Classical musicians are encouraged to sign up and get involved at You submit a few performance links, and if you’re approved by a Groupmuse admin, you’re free to play as many groupmuses as you want! The average musician walks away from a show with $ 160 in their pockets — so the payday’s not bad, either.

Toke of the Town

‘Robopets’ Bring Companionship to Nursing Homes

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, May 10, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Cuddler the bear, Aibo the dog, Justocat the purring kitty: They may only be furry, lifelike robots, but they have a made a real impact in nursing homes.

That’s the finding of new British research that suggests these high-tech “robopets” are the next best thing for nursing home residents unable to have a beloved pet or those suffering from loneliness.

“Although not every … resident may choose to interact with robopets, for those who do, they appear to offer many benefits,” study author Rebecca Abbott, of the University of Exeter Medical School, said in a university news release.

The robopets stimulate conversations and trigger fond memories of pets or past experiences, Abbott said. “And there is also the comfort of touching or interacting with the robopet itself. The joy of having something to care for was a strong finding across many of the studies.”

One U.S. geriatrician who was not involved in the study said engagement with a robotpet does seem helpful.

“Most importantly, it was found to decrease loneliness and increase pleasure and joy, and bring comfort,” said Dr. Maria Torroella Carney. She directs geriatrics and palliative medicine at Northwell Health in Great Neck, N.Y.

In the new study, Abbott’s group analyzed data from 19 studies involving 900 nursing home residents, family members and staff at centers worldwide. Five different robopets were used in the studies: Necoro and Justocat (cats); Aibo (a dog); Cuddler (a bear); and Paro (a baby seal).

Many nursing home residents were entertained by the robopet even if they realized it wasn’t a real dog or cat. Of course, “residents’ responses could vary according to whether they were living with dementia and according to the severity of the dementia,” Abbott’s team noted.

Some residents talked to the robopet as if it were, in fact, alive and a real animal. Some even made an emotional connection with the “pet.” For example, one resident told staff, “I woke up today and thought, today is going to be a good day because I get to see my friend.”


For others, just holding and stroking the robopet brought “them back into a space in their life where they feel loved,” as one nursing home caretaker put it in the study.

As to whether the robopet felt “real,” one resident’s family member said that it “doesn’t matter, because I can see that the robotic cat has an impact on my dad’s quality of life.”

Besides their other benefits, robopets appeared to boost social interaction with other residents, family members and staff, often by acting as a trigger for conversation, according to the research.

Of course, not every nursing home resident was enthused about the robopet. Some ignored them or even reacted negatively, and others were put off by their artificiality.

That means that specific staff training about the best use of the devices should help residents get the most out of the technology, Abbott and colleagues suggested.

For example, knowing if a person likes animals or once had pets is likely to affect how much they engage with a robopet, the team said.

The bottom line is that “it is not always possible to have a cat or a dog come into a care home, so robopets can offer a good alternative,” study co-author Noreen Orr concluded.

“Of course, robopets are no substitute for human interaction,” she said, “but our research shows that for those who choose to engage with them, they can have a range of benefits.”

For her part, Carney said questions remain around the benefits of the technology.

For example, while the emotional benefits for some residents seem clear, “we don’t know if this [technology] decreases medication use or any other health outcomes,” she said. Also, more study is needed into “which population of patients have best engagement and benefit,” Carney said.

And there’s one other drawback, for now: Robopets can be prohibitively expensive. However, “a new wave of more affordable robopets may make them more accessible to care homes,” Orr believes.

The study, which received no private industry funding, was published May 9 in the International Journal of Older People Nursing.

WebMD News from HealthDay


SOURCES: Maria Torroella Carney, M.D., chief, Division of Geriatric and Palliative Medicine, Northwell Health, Great Neck, N.Y.; University of Exeter, news release, May 9, 2019,International Journal of Older People Nursing, May 9, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

‘); } else { // If we match both our test Topic Ids and Buisness Ref we want to place the ad in the middle of page 1 if($ .inArray(window.s_topic, moveAdTopicIds) > -1 && $ .inArray(window.s_business_reference, moveAdBuisRef) > -1){ // The logic below reads count all nodes in page 1. Exclude the footer,ol,ul and table elements. Use the varible // moveAdAfter to know which node to place the Ad container after. window.placeAd = function(pn) { var nodeTags = [‘p’, ‘h3′,’aside’, ‘ul’], nodes, target; nodes = $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(‘ + pn + ‘)’).find(nodeTags.join()).not(‘p:empty’).not(‘footer *’).not(‘ol *, ul *, table *’); //target = nodes.eq(Math.floor(nodes.length / 2)); target = nodes.eq(moveAdAfter); $ (”).insertAfter(target); } // Currently passing in 1 to move the Ad in to page 1 window.placeAd(1); } else { // This is the default location on the bottom of page 1 $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(1)’).append(”); } } })(); $ (function(){ // Create a new conatiner where we will make our lazy load Ad call if the reach the footer section of the article $ (‘.main-container-3’).prepend(”); });


WebMD Health

Astronaut Twins Show Space Travel Doesn’t Bring Lasting Biological Changes

THURSDAY, April 11, 2019 — NASA astronaut Scott Kelly spent a year on the International Space Station. His twin brother, fellow astronaut Mark Kelly, stayed on the ground.

And a large, interdisciplinary research team tracked the health and biology of both men, in a groundbreaking attempt to observe the effects of spaceflight on the human body.

There’s a lot in space that can affect your health. Radiation, space station air quality, zero gravity and the stress of being trapped in a closed environment far from home can all take a toll.

What researchers discovered is pretty reassuring for near-Earth space travel — while Scott’s body did undergo some changes compared with Mark, things went back pretty much to normal once he returned home.

“I think it’s reassuring to know that when you come back things will largely be back to the same,” said researcher Michael Snyder, chair of genetics at Stanford University School of Medicine. “So I think that’s the No. 1 message.”

For example, Scott experienced a large-scale shift in the way his genes expressed themselves while he was in space, but it didn’t seem to affect his health and largely went back to normal upon his return, researchers said.

“We saw that the vast majority, over 90%, of all these changes all returned back to baseline coming back to Earth,” said researcher Chris Mason, an associate professor of genetics with Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.

Changes to cellular aging?

The most lasting change occurred in Scott Kelly’s telomeres, the protective caps on the end of chromosomes, said researcher Susan Bailey, a professor with the Colorado State University Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Services.

Think of telomeres as similar to the plastic tips on the end of shoelaces — they keep chromosomes from unraveling and causing damage to healthy cells. Shorter telomeres put a person at higher risk for accelerated aging, and for age-related diseases like heart problems and cancer, Bailey said.

Space travel had an elastic effect upon Scott Kelly’s telomeres that his brother Mark didn’t experience, despite their identical genetics.

“Scott’s telomeres were longer during spaceflight than they were either before or after,” Bailey said. “We also saw a very rapid decrease in telomere length upon his return to Earth.”

Scott Kelly continues to carry shorter telomeres after flight than he had before, Bailey added.

“From the perspective of aging and health risks, that could be where he might be at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, for example, or some types of cancer, too,” Bailey said.

Unprecedented collaborative study

The idea for the NASA Twins Study came from Scott Kelly himself, during preparations for his 340-day-long mission in space with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, said co-lead investigator Dr. Andrew Feinberg, director of the Center for Epigenetics at Johns Hopkins University.

Kelly and Kornienko left Earth for the space station in March 2015 and returned in March 2016.

The Twins Study encompassed 10 separate research teams that thoroughly tracked the health and biology of both Scott in space and Mark on the ground.

Some other findings from the study:

  • Scott’s carotid artery wall became thicker during the mission, which is considered a risk factor for heart disease and stroke, said researcher Stuart Lee, lead scientist for KBRwyle, a contractor supporting the cardiovascular and vision laboratory at NASA Johnson Space Center.
  • A flu vaccine administered in space worked exactly as it would on Earth, indicating that the immune system is not significantly compromised outside the planet.
  • Changes in the makeup of Scott’s stomach bacteria in space were no greater than stress-related changes scientists observe on Earth.

Scott experienced some changes to his vision and the shape of his eyeball, including a thicker retinal nerve and folds in the choroid layer that surrounds the eye, possibly due to the effects of zero gravity on fluids in the body.

About 40% of astronauts experience these sort of vision changes, said Lee. It’s occurred in other male astronauts, but not females.

Researchers expect that “those are probably some permanent changes that won’t resolve over time,” Lee said.

‘Deep space’ effects still unknown

This study provides a first glimpse into the effects of space travel on humans, but cannot predict what might happen people as they venture into deep space, the researchers cautioned.

“This is not the environment that the astronauts are going to be facing when they go to Mars,” Feinberg said, noting that the International Space Station is close enough to Earth to shield it from deep space radiation. “We don’t have much experience with people leaving that protective shell.”

“We need to get outside of low Earth orbit and we need for the astronauts to spend longer periods of time to really evaluate some of these health effects,” Bailey added. “The radiation exposure will certainly be a big concern as they get outside of the protection of the Earth.”

The findings from the study were published April 12 in the journal Science.

In this video, Bailey outlines her research with the twins on the effects of space on the human body:

Credit: Jason Russell/Colorado State University

More information

NASA has more on humans in space.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: April 2019 – Daily MedNews

Common MS Drug Can Bring Longer, Healthier Life

By Serena Gordon

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, March 28, 2019 (HealthDay News) — An older but still common multiple sclerosis (MS) treatment has an unexpected perk: It not only quells symptoms, but patients may also live longer.

New research revealed that patients taking a beta interferon drug for more than three years were likely to live longer than those who took one for a shorter time or who didn’t take one at all.

“This study was the first and largest of its kind, and we found that a commonly used drug for MS may prolong life,” said the study’s senior author, Helen Tremlett. She’s the Canada Research Chair in Neuroepidemiology and Multiple Sclerosis at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

Beta interferon drugs include Avonex, Betaseron, Extavia, Plegridy and Rebif. Beta interferons were the first disease-modifying drugs available to treat MS. They were introduced in the 1990s to treat relapsing MS. Newer medications are now available, but beta interferons are still widely used, the study authors noted.

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease that affects the central nervous system. The symptoms include muscle weakness, trouble with coordination and balance, visual disturbances and problems with thinking and memory. MS can shorten life span an average of six years or more, the study authors said.

Dr. Nicholas LaRocca is vice president of Health Care Delivery and Policy Research for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. He explained that, in MS, “tissues in the central nervous system are attacked by the immune system. Beta interferon modulates the immune system, trying to bring the immune system back into balance.”

But exactly how it does so still isn’t clear, Tremlett said. It’s also not clear exactly how beta interferons might improve survival, and the study could not prove cause and effect.

The study was challenging because the researchers needed a large group of people and health information over a long period of time. They relied on two databases with information on nearly 6,000 people with MS — one in Canada and one in France. The Canadian information spanned 1980 through 2004, and the French, 1976 through 2013.


The researchers compared 742 people who died during the study period with those who did not.

The study participants hadn’t received drug treatments before the study began. Their average age at the start was 42. Those who died during the study were 61, on average.

Tremlett said the survival benefit of beta interferons was seen in both the Canadian and the French groups. Findings were similar for men and women.

According to LaRocca, “Beta interferon was the very first of the disease-modifying drugs. There are an additional 14 drugs on the market now. These findings indicate that treatment with beta interferon was associated with a lower risk of mortality.”

Newer medications tend to be more expensive, though beta interferons can also be costly, he added.

“The treatment landscape in MS is very complex, and the course of treatment isn’t 100 percent determined by a patient and physician. Sometimes people may have to try older drugs first,” LaRocca said.

Overall, though, he said, “We’ve been very fortunate in MS because we’ve been able to develop so many new treatments, and life expectancy has increased.”

Funding for the study was provided by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Fondation ARSEP, an MS organization in France. The researchers recently received funding from the Canadian Health Institute for a similar study with newer MS medications, Tremlett said.

The study was published March 18 in the journal Brain.

WebMD News from HealthDay


SOURCES: Helen Tremlett, Ph.D., professor and Canada Research Chair in Neuroepidemiology and Multiple Sclerosis, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada; Nicholas LaRocca, Ph.D., vice president of health care delivery and policy research, National Multiple Sclerosis Society; March 18, 2019,Brain

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

‘); } else { // If we match both our test Topic Ids and Buisness Ref we want to place the ad in the middle of page 1 if($ .inArray(window.s_topic, moveAdTopicIds) > -1 && $ .inArray(window.s_business_reference, moveAdBuisRef) > -1){ // The logic below reads count all nodes in page 1. Exclude the footer,ol,ul and table elements. Use the varible // moveAdAfter to know which node to place the Ad container after. window.placeAd = function(pn) { var nodeTags = [‘p’, ‘h3′,’aside’, ‘ul’], nodes, target; nodes = $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(‘ + pn + ‘)’).find(nodeTags.join()).not(‘p:empty’).not(‘footer *’).not(‘ol *, ul *, table *’); //target = nodes.eq(Math.floor(nodes.length / 2)); target = nodes.eq(moveAdAfter); $ (”).insertAfter(target); } // Currently passing in 1 to move the Ad in to page 1 window.placeAd(1); } else { // This is the default location on the bottom of page 1 $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(1)’).append(”); } } })(); $ (function(){ // Create a new conatiner where we will make our lazy load Ad call if the reach the footer section of the article $ (‘.main-container-3’).prepend(”); });


WebMD Health

Shout! Factory & Eleven Arts Anime Studio Bring ‘A Silent Voice’ Home

The tender, captivating anime feature A Silent Voice will make its home entertainment debut in the U.S., as ELEVEN ARTS Anime Studio and Shout! Factory release both the English subtitled and dubbed versions on Blu-ray combo, DVD and digital on April 2. Directed by Naoko Yamada (Liz and the Blue Bird) from a screenplay by Reiko Yoshida, the film won the Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year, as well as Best Film and Best Screenplay at the Tokyo Anime Awards, and the Japanese Movie Critics Award for Best Animation.

Based on the critically acclaimed manga by Yoshitoki Oima, A Silent Voice is a gorgeous coming-of-age drama with a powerful message about bullying, depression and forgiveness. When a deaf elementary school girl named Shoko is forced to transfer to a new school after a boy named Shôya constant bullies her, Shôya suffers over the consequences of his guilt for years. Upon entering high school, Shôya finally decides he must find Shoko, to make amends for what he did in elementary school and to become her friend. Along the way, he meets new and old faces, and struggles with many complicated relationships and feelings.

Animation Magazine

Putting on the dog: Thai ad agency employees bring pets to work

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Nimo bounds out of a car in a rush to get to work at a Bangkok advertising agency, but Nimo is no ordinary employee.

Dogs are seen on Jirmas’ desk as she works in an office of a digital advertising agency which promotes bring-your-dog-to-work in Bangkok, Thailand September 27, 2018. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

He’s a dog.

The brown-haired husky accompanies his owner, Thimpaporn Phopipat, to work everyday at digital advertising agency YDM in the Thai capital.

“Since I already love dogs, it really made me want to work here,” said Thimaporn, 29, a digital public relations manager who also takes along her chihuahua, Muu Pan.

Jirmas holds a dog as she works in an office of a digital advertising agency which promotes bring-your-dog-to-work in Bangkok, Thailand September 27, 2018. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

The bring-your-dog-to-work trend is gaining momentum in Thailand, particularly at companies like advertisement firms that are known to require irregular work hours.

The policy can help to alleviate stress, as well as attract, and retain, employees, say some.

Other advertisement agencies in the Thai capital have dog-friendly policies but YDM, with nearly 200 employees and 20 pet dogs, is by far the largest to adopt the scheme.

Several studies point to the benefits of dogs in the workplace, but a May 2017 study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health warned against hazards such as allergies and animal-borne diseases.

The same report said pets could help to buffer stress at work, however.

Slideshow (11 Images)

Even those who don’t bring their pets to work say other people’s pets help colleagues to bond better.

“Sometimes things can get chaotic, but it’s a good kind of chaos, because it makes me happy and relaxed,” said Jitramas Watana-ug, 31, a YDM account manager.

Agency owner Anuckanard Kongpanichakul, 42, introduced the dog-friendly policy when she founded YDM eight years ago.

“For me it is very joyful, it feels like this is a home,” Anuckanard said.

(The story corrects the spelling of agency owner in paragraph 12)

Additional reporting by Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Clarence Fernandez

Reuters: Oddly Enough

TF1 Teams with VIZ to Bring ‘Captain Tsubasa’ & ‘My Hero Academia’ to France

VIZ Media Europe, the continent’s leader in Japanese entertainment, has partnered with TF1 Group to broadcast two international hit anime series across France: Captain Tsubasa and My Hero Academia.

Super popular soccer/football series Captain Tsubasa returns in early 2019 in a new version of the classic to amp up a new generation of young fans. TF1, which broadcast the original in the ‘80s and ‘90s as part of its program “Le Club Dorothée,” will air the reboot from the beginning of next year. With a double broadcasting strategy by targeting a diversified audience, the show will appear on the kids’ block TFOU (on TF1) and the channel TFX.

Superheroic phenom My Hero Academia will begin airing in TFX at the end of this year. Hailed as the new Naruto, the promising property has already achieve record figures. The manga published by Ki-oon has sold more than 1.5 million copies in France. A video game from Bandai Namco Ent., My Hero: One’s Justice, is set to release on October 26 for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC (via Steam).

“Twenty years after the end of the Club Dorothée, we are glad to bring back anime on TF1 Group channels. Captain Tsubasa and My Hero Academia are long-awaited series, we are convinced they will reach a large audience thanks to this partnership,” said Aâdil Tayouga, Executive Manager at VIZ Media Europe.

“We are thrilled about the acquisition of these series, to bring back Captain Tsubasa which has left its mark on an entire generation under the name Olive et Tom on our channels, and to welcome My Hero Academia for the great satisfaction of our public,” added Xavier Gandon, TF1 Director, TV broadcasting and digital.

My Hero Academia

My Hero Academia

Animation Magazine

Rokoko Partners with Unity to Bring Mo-Cap to Developers Around the World

Rokoko (, the company behind the popular Smartsuit Pro motion-capture suit, announced a partnership with Unity Technologies (, creator of the world’s most widely used real-time 3D development platform, to provide Unity developers access to Rokoko’s products, Smartsuit Pro and The Motion Library via the Unity Asset Store. The partnership marks the availability of The Motion Library: an extensive motion asset marketplace with Hollywood-quality animation files accessible for preview and purchase via a plugin and on the Unity Asset Store. The Motion Library saves time and money on animated projects by allowing for instantaneous uploading of animation files to existing projects.

For free, Unity developers can get access to the plugin, along with a collection of demo assets and 3D previews of thousands of premium assets made by Rokoko’s featured publishers, which include top-tier professional motion-capture studios like UK-based Audiomotion (Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Ready Player One, Horizon Zero Dawn, Dying Light) and Centroid (Assassin’s Creed, Godzilla, Doctor Strange). Publishers have used professional actors and million dollar motion-capture systems to create assets that are now available in the Motion Library for as little as $ 1 per asset and a $ 10 monthly subscription.

“The partnership between Rokoko and Unity is an excellent blend of two companies who are breaking the barriers for development – in this case, providing access to tools that have the potential to transform the way developers work with character animation,” said Peter O’Reilly, Head of the Asset Store at Unity Technologies. “This has previously been a very costly, and time-consuming endeavor. We’re excited to work with a passionate team who shares our vision to solve hard problems for our community.”

“This is a dream come true for Rokoko,” said Jakob Balslev, CEO at Rokoko. “Unity took the expensive and restrictive tools of game development and made them available to all the creative people who had so much to contribute but never had access before. That is exactly what we want to do with character animation. Understanding human motion is the next frontier and Rokoko will be at the center of it.”

Rokoko is best known for its Smartsuit Pro, an entire motion-capture studio in one markerless suit, enabling creators on all levels to turn any space into a professional motion-capture stage. Popular among game developers and filmmakers, the suit has made a once cost-prohibitive process affordable, accessible, and intuitive to use. The

Motion Library is available to all Unity users today as a native plugin through the Unity Asset Store. Later in 2018, Rokoko will launch The Motion Library to developers on all other platforms at

Check out Rokoko’s tech in action in this video featuring mo-cap actor TJ Storm (Deadpool, Iron Man, Godzilla) performing a very empowering Haka:

TJ Storm

TJ Storm

Rokoko Motion Library

Rokoko Motion Library

Animation Magazine

California Assembly OKs Bill to Allow Students to Bring Medical Cannabis Oil or Pills to School

By, Kathleen Ronayne SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Some California parents would be allowed to give their children medical cannabis on school campuses under a bill passed Monday, Aug. 27, 2018, by the state Assembly and sent to Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown. State law has allowed minors to access medical cannabis since the 1990s but prohibits […]

Legendary to Bring ‘Gundam’ Movie to Life


A new live-action movie based on Sunrise’s popular giant robot franchise Gundam is in the works. Legendary, which is producing the movie in collaboration with Sunrise, made the official announcement at L.A.’s Anime Expo. First created in 1979, Gundam was developed by animator Yoshiyuki Tomino and group of Sunrise creators known as Hajime Yatate. The series, which began as Mobile Suite Gundam, featured robots in a militaristic  space colony setting and it spawned, various TV series, OVAs, films, manga, novels and videogames.

The companies said in the announcement that Gundam goods dominate master toy licensee Bandai Namco’s earnings almost 40 years after its inception. The new movie will be overseen by Cale Boyter on behalf of Legendary with the Sunrise creative team. Legendary’s other high profile projects include Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Detective Pikachu and an adaptation of the Marguerite Bennett’s dystopian comic-book series Animosity.





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