Concerned By “Sky-rocketing” COVID Cases, Telangana HC Directs State To Increase Daily Samples, Test Direct, High-Risk Contacts [Read Order]

first_imgNews UpdatesConcerned By “Sky-rocketing” COVID Cases, Telangana HC Directs State To Increase Daily Samples, Test Direct, High-Risk Contacts [Read Order] Mehal Jain19 Jun 2020 1:13 AMShare This – xNaming it “a cause of concern”, the Telangana High Court on Thursday observed that “immediately the spread of the Coronavirus should be controlled by the Government”. “Before the Government can plan the strategy for controlling the Coronavirus, the first step that needs to be taken is to increase the number of samples per day”, said the Chief Justice-led bench. The Court noted…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginNaming it “a cause of concern”, the Telangana High Court on Thursday observed that “immediately the spread of the Coronavirus should be controlled by the Government”. “Before the Government can plan the strategy for controlling the Coronavirus, the first step that needs to be taken is to increase the number of samples per day”, said the Chief Justice-led bench. The Court noted that undoubtedly, in its initial endeavour to control the spread of Covid-l9, the Government had succeeded to a certain extent. Initially, while the media reports claimed that covid-l9 had spread its tentacles to twenty-three districts, subsequent media reports claimed that the number of districts suffering from covid-I9 cases had decreased. Considering the positive turn of events, the Government, in its wisdom, had decided to roll-back the lockdown which had been imposed on the State since March, 24. However, unfortunately, with the rolling back of the lockdown, in a controlled and calibrated manner, the number of Covid-l9 positive cases have skyrocketed in the last three weeks. According to the Media Bulletin, dated 17.06.2020, 269 cases have been discovered in a single day, with more districts beginning to show increase in number of Covid-I9 cases. Accordingly, the Court on Wednesday directed the government to increase the number of samples being tested on a daily basis. “The Government should also consider the use of Rapid Antigen Detection Test as recommended by the ICMR. In compliance of the ICMR guidelines those who have been closely in contact with a Covid-19 patient should be tested once between day 5 and day l0 of coming into contact with such patient, For, it seems that despite the guidelines issued by the ICMR the said guideline is not being implemented by the State”, ordered the Court. Besides, taking note of the claim of the state’s Health Department in its report dated June 17 that it is difficult to carry out the RT-PCR test, a test which has been successfully carried out in the State of Kerala, the Court called upon the Director to explain the difficulties being faced by the State in using the said tests. It was urged before the Court that in the report submitted by the Health Department on Wednesday, the State has declared that it will carry out 50,000 Covid-I9 tests just in ten days across the area of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation and the surrounding districts. Thus, if 50.000 samples were to be taken just in ten days, it would require that at least 5,000 tests need to be carried out on a daily basis. However, the Media Bulletin dated 16,06,2020 clearly states that only 1251 samples were tested, and the Media Bulletin dated 17.06.2020 reveals that only 1096 samples were tested, Thus, in two days only 2,347 samples were taken, whereas 10,000 samples should have been taken in two days. Hence, according to the documents submitted by the State, the testing is hopelessly low from the target set by the State itself. Secondly, it was pointed out that according to the National Data available, as on 16.06.2020, the State of Maharashtra has tested 5496 persons per million; Gujarat has tested 2448 persons per million; even the neighbouring State of Andhra Pradesh has tested 10,865 persons per million. Yet, the Telangana State has tested merely 761 persons per million. Thus, the testing being carried out in the State is too little. “Although in the Report dated 17.06.2020, the Government claims that it will be carrying out 50,000/- tests in the coming ten days, but according to the Media Bulletin issued on 16.06,2020 and 17.06.2020, the number of samples being tested is roughly 1500 cases. As pointed out (…), in order to achieve the target of 50,000 tests within ten days, the sampling has to be minimum of 5000 cases per day. Therefore, obviously, the samples being taken by the Government are far below the target established by the Government itself”, reflected the bench. The Court proceeded to remark that “Even if the target of completing 50,000 samples within ten days is claimed to be a reasonable one by the State, even then, as pointed out above, the sampling is too low to be able to achieve the target within the short period of ten days”. Furthermore, it was argued that according to the recent most guidelines issued by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) dated 18.05.2020, “all symptomatic (ILI symptoms) health care workers/frontline workers involved in containment and mitigation of Covid-l9” and “asymptomatic direct and high-risk contacts of A confirmed case to be tested once between day 5 and day 10 of coming into contacl”.However, there is no evidence that has been produced by the State to show that these two guidelines, especially the second guideline dealing with the “asymptomatic direct and high-risk contacts of a confirmed case” is, indeed, being carried out by the State. The bench required the Department to inform this Court whether this particular guideline issued by the ICMR is, indeed, being followed or not. The attention of the bench was drawn to a report published by the “Express News Service”, dated 08.06.2020, according to which the cases of Covid-l9 inTelangana are likely to peak in July, 2020. But due to the low testing of the population, the extent and the spread and the rapid growth of Covid-l9 would not be known to the Health Department. It was further contended that on 14,06.2020, the ICMR had issued an Advisory on use of Rapid Antigen Detection Test for Covid-I9. According to the Advisory, the said test was, indeed, a test “with good sensitivity and specificity for early detection of lhe disease”. Moreover, according to the Advisory, the said test was now readily available in India. Therefore, the Advisory had clearly recommended that the said test be used in the containment zones/hot spots and in the Healthcare settings. But, despite the fact that the said Advisory has been issued, so far, there is no indication that it has been adopted by the Health Department of the State. “By order dated, 26.05.2020 in W.P. (PIL) Nos. 59 of 2020 and Batch, this Court had issued the following direction, among others, to the State, which rcads thus:- Secondly, the Government is directed to carry out “random testing” and “community testing” in the districts declared as ‘Red Zone’, ‘Orange Zone’ and ‘containment area’. Having carried out such tests, the Government is directed to inform this Court about the number and the place where such tests were carried out. However, the aforementioned directions are yet to be complied with by the State”, commented the division bench. On June 8, the Court had directed the State to, not only publish vital statistics on COVID on the Internet, but most importantly to have it published on the front pages of all the Newspapers in the Print Media. Noting that the direction is not being complied with, the bench on Wednesday reiterated that the critical information should be published on a daily basis not only in the Media Bulletin, but also in the regional newspapers. “Secondly, the information available within the GHMC area, should be published ward-wise, and the said information should immediately be communicated to the Colony Associations. For, the wider the information is spread, the more the people will become aware of the danger being posed by Covid-I9. And hopefully, people will continue to observe the safety measures prescribed by the Government/ICMR”, the Court required. The Government is further directed to publicise the names of the fifty-four Government Hospitals, which have been designated for treatment of Covid-l9. “For, the impression exists not only in the minds of the people at large, but even in the minds of the Doctors working at Gandhi Hospital that Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad is the only designated hospital for treatment of Covid-19. Since the Government claims that Government Hospitals have been designated in the districts itself, the said information needs to be given as wide a publicity as possible, so as to reduce the rush of patients to the Gandhi Hospital”, said the bench. Besides, the bench was of the view that since about 274 police personnel are said to be deployed at the Gandhi Hospital, these police personnel are to be given sufficient PPEs so as not to adversely affect their lives while discharging their duties. “Moreover, since there seems to be sufficient stock of PPEs, the Superintendent of Gandhi Hospital is further directed to ensure that the PPEs/Protective gears are made readily available not only to the Senior Doctors, or Doctors working in the ICU, not only to the Medical Staff working in the ICU, but even to the Junior Doctors, Resident Doctors and the Nurses, male and female. After all, it is imperative that the frontline warriors, the Medical Staff from the senior most Doctors to the Ward-Boy, are totally protected from the Covid-l9 infection”, the bench said. Further, since the Gandhi Hospital has already decided to deploy nearly 50% of its staff, the Government is directed to consider the possibility of issuing the necessary instructions even to the private hospitals, which have been permitted to treat the Covid-l9 patients, to reduce the staff and to employ them, in shifts, on weekly basis. The bench was alive to the fact that though fifty-four hospitals have been designated as centres for treatment of Covid-l9, patients tend to go to other hospitals as well. Due to the congregation of patients in other hospitals, the possibility does exist that many of these patients may be the carriers of Coronavirus. Therefore, the Government is directed to consider the possibility of issuing instructions and at least providing thermal screening to all the hospitals so that any patient or his relative, who may accompany such a patient is thermally screened at the entrance of the hospitals. In case, any patient or the accompanying member is found to indicate any covid-l9 symptoms, the patient or the relative should immediately be quarantined, and the information should immediately be shared by the concerned hospital with the State Health Department. “Such a procedure would not only protect the other patients, who are reporting to the hospitals, but would also protect the Medical staff of the concerned hospital”, the bench expressed.Click Here To Download Order[Read Order]  Subscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. All payment options available.loading….Next Storylast_img read more

Evansville Water Will Temporarily Change Disinfection Beginning August 19

first_imgFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailShare Evansville Water will temporarily change disinfection Evansville, IN. – Beginning August 19 and continuing through September 23, 2019, the Evansville Water and Sewer Utility (EWSU) will temporarily change the disinfectant used in the water treatment process.  EWSU will be using free chlorine rather than the regularly used disinfectant (chloramine) during this time period.  This is the second and final of two such temporary switchovers for 2019.What is Chloramine?Chloramine is a disinfectant used in drinking water to remove bacteria and viruses that can make you sick.  It is made up of chlorine and ammonia.  EWSU has used chloramine as the disinfectant in its water treatment process since 1999.What is Free Chlorine?Free chlorine is a slightly stronger disinfectant than chloramine, and it is used to remove more resistant bacteria and viruses that may be found in the water distribution system.Why would the EWSU Convert from Chloramine to Free Chlorine?This brief, scheduled change in disinfectant is a standard water treatment practice to keep water mains clean and free of potentially harmful bacteria throughout the year.  State drinking water guidelines recommend that utilities using chloramine periodically switch to free chlorine for a period of time.  The temporary use of chlorine will ensure that a proper level of disinfectant is maintained throughout the network of water mains and pipes that deliver your drinking water.Free chlorine is a more aggressive disinfectant than chloramine, and this temporary change in the water treatment process denies bacteria the ability to form resistance to the usual disinfection treatment process.  Switching to free chlorine is a proactive step to ensure that we maintain optimal levels of disinfectant in the water distribution system.As always, the drinking water will be regularly monitored to ensure that the water delivered meets, or is better than, federal Safe Drinking Water Act standards.Why Does EWSU Use Chloramine Most of the Year?While chlorine is an effective disinfectant, using chlorine alone creates byproducts that are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  These by-product levels can be significantly and cost-effectively reduced through the use of chloramine.  Also, chloramine has less odor (compared to chlorine), and remains in the distribution system longer to more effectively prevent bacterial growth.  As such, chloramine is a better long-term choice as a regular disinfectant.Will I Notice a Difference in My Water?During this time period, some customers may notice a slight change in the taste or odor of their tap water. Free chlorine may have more of a chemical odor, slightly like that of swimming pool water. Each individual customer has his or her own sensitivity level to the taste and/or odor of free chlorine.  Many detect no change at all.  The mild chlorine taste and odor is normal and poses no health risk.Are Free Chlorine and Chloraminated Water Safe?Yes, both form chlorine and chloramine are effective and safe for people and animals for drinking, cooking and bathing, as well as watering the garden and all other common uses.  However, precautions should be taken to remove or neutralize chloramine and free chlorine during the kidney dialysis process, in the preparation of water for fish tanks and ponds, and for businesses requiring highly processed water.  A de-chlorination procedure optimized for chloramine removal will work equally well with free chlorine.People and businesses that normally take special precautions to remove chloramine from tap water (such as dialysis centers, medical facilities and aquatic pet owners) should continue to take the same precautions during the temporary switch from chloramine to free chlorine.Most customers will not need to take any precautions as the water remains safe to drink and is treated according to both state and federal standards.Kidney Dialysis: Just like chloramine, free chlorine must be removed from water used in kidney dialysis machines.  EWSU has contacted representatives from the medical community to inform them of this temporary conversion.  We advise customers who are dialysis patients to call their physicians or dialysis centers if there are any questions. Fish Owners: Like chloramine, free chlorine is toxic to fish.  Fish owners need to remove chlorine, ammonia and chloramine from the water before use with tropical fish. Local pet stores carry water conditioners that remove chloramine and free chlorine.  If customers have questions, we recommend contacting their pet store for information and detailed instructions. EWSU is committed to providing high-quality water and related services that meet all regulatory drinking water standards in a manner that prevents pollution, enhances the environment, and promotes sustainability.  If you need further information regarding this change, please contact the Utility water treatment facility at (812) 428-0568.   last_img read more

Greggs names new chief exec

first_imgGreggs has appointed Ken McMeikan – currently retail director at Sainsbury’s – to be chief executive of the group. He will join the board of the bakery giant on June 1.Sir Michael Darrington will retire at the end of July after 24 years as managing director of Greggs but will remain on the board as a non-executive director. Announcing McMeikan’s appointment, Greggs chairman Derek Netherton said: “When we began the process to find a successor to Mike Darrington we recognised that he would be an extremely hard act to follow. We are therefore delighted to have found in Ken McMeikan a person with the right mix of abilities and personal qualities to lead the business in the next stage of its development.”Netherton added that McMeikan’s “considerable retailing experience” would “greatly complement the skills and expertise that already exist within the Greggs senior team”.McMeikan, 42, joined Sainsbury’s in 2005 after a short period as chief executive of Tesco Japan. Previously he had spent 14 years in operational roles with Tesco, becoming chief executive of the Europa Foods convenience store business following its acquisition in 2002, with responsibility for integrating it into the Tesco Express format.Netherton also paid tribute to Sir Michael for “his outstanding contribution to the considerable growth and development of the business over the last 25 years, and particularly for his strong and unflagging leadership”.Sir Michael welcomed McMeikan’s appointment and said his experience would “prove particularly relevant and helpful in progressing the development of Greggs as a much more unified and customer-focused national brand”.last_img read more

Size a concern when replacing heart valves

first_imgMore than one in eight people age 75 and older in the U.S. develop moderate to severe blockage of the aortic valve in their hearts, usually caused by calcified deposits that build up on the valve’s leaflets and prevent them from fully opening and closing.Many of these older patients are not healthy enough to undergo open-heart surgeries; instead, they have artificial valves implanted into their hearts using a procedure called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), which deploys the valve via a catheter inserted into the aorta.There are challenges with this procedure, however, including the need to choose the perfect-size valve without ever actually looking at the patient’s heart. Too small, and the valve can dislodge or leak around the edges; too large, and the valve can rip through the heart, carrying a risk of death. Like Goldilocks, cardiologists are looking for a TAVR valve size that is “just right.”Researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have created a novel 3-D printing workflow that allows cardiologists to evaluate how different valve sizes will interact with each patient’s unique anatomy, before the medical procedure is actually performed. This protocol uses CT scan data to produce physical models of individual patients’ aortic valves, in addition to a “sizer” device to determine the perfect replacement valve size. The work was performed in collaboration with researchers and physicians from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the University of Washington, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, and is published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography.“If you buy a pair of shoes online without trying them on first, there’s a good chance they’re not going to fit properly. Sizing replacement TAVR valves poses a similar problem, in that doctors don’t get the opportunity to evaluate how a specific valve size will fit with a patient’s anatomy before surgery,” said James Weaver, a senior research scientist at the Wyss Institute who is a corresponding author of the paper. “Our integrative 3-D printing and valve-sizing system provides a customized report of every patient’s unique aortic valve shape, removing a lot of the guesswork and helping each patient receive a more accurately sized valve.”,When patients needs a replacement heart valve, they frequently get a CT scan, which takes a series of X-ray images of the heart to create a 3-D reconstruction of its internal anatomy. While the outer wall of the aorta and any associated calcified deposits are easily seen on a CT scan, the delicate “leaflets” of tissue that open and close the valve are often too thin to show up well. “After a 3-D reconstruction of the heart anatomy is performed, it often looks like the calcified deposits are simply floating around inside the valve, providing little or no insight as to how a deployed TAVR valve would interact with them,” Weaver explained.To solve that problem, Ahmed Hosny, who was a research fellow at the Wyss Institute at the time, created a software program that used parametric modeling to generate virtual 3-D models of the leaflets using seven coordinates on each patient’s valve that were visible on CT scans. The digital leaflet models were then merged with the CT data and adjusted so that they fit into the valve correctly. The resulting model, which incorporated the leaflets and their associated calcified deposits, was then 3-D printed into a physical multimaterial model.The team also 3-D printed a custom “sizer” device that fit inside the valve model and expanded and contracted to determine what size artificial valve would best fit each patient. They then wrapped the sizer with a thin layer of pressure-sensing film to map the pressure between the sizer and the 3-D-printed valves and their associated calcified deposits, while gradually expanding the sizer.“We discovered that the size and the location of the calcified deposits on the leaflets have a big impact on how well an artificial valve will fit into a calcified one,” said Hosny, who is currently at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “Sometimes, there was just no way a TAVR valve would fully seal a calcified valve, and those patients could actually be better off getting open-heart surgery to obtain a better-fitting result.”In addition, the multimaterial design of the 3-D-printed valve models, which incorporate flexible leaflets and rigid calcified deposits into a fully integrated shape, could much more accurately mimic the behavior of real heart valves during artificial valve deployment, as well as provide haptic feedback as the sizer expanded.A custom “sizer” device is placed inside each 3-D printed heart valve model and gradually expanded until the proper fit is achieved. Credit: Wyss Institute at Harvard UniversityThe team tested their system against data from 30 patients who had already undergone TAVR procedures, 15 of whom had developed leaks from valves that were too small. The researchers predicted, based on how well the sizer fit into the 3-D-printed models of their aortic valves, what size valve each patient should have received, and whether they would experience leaks after the procedure. The system was able to successfully predict leak outcome in 60 percent to 73 percent of the patients (depending on the type of valve each had received), and determined that 60 percent of the patients had received the appropriate size of valve.“Being able to identify intermediate- and low-risk patients whose heart-valve anatomy gives them a higher probability of complications from TAVR is critical, and we’ve never had a noninvasive way to accurately determine that before,” said co-author Beth Ripley, an assistant professor at the University of Washington who was a cardiovascular imaging fellow at Brigham and Women’s when the study was done. “Those patients might be better served by surgery, as the risks of an imperfect TAVR result might outweigh its benefits.” Additionally, being able to physically simulate the procedure might inform future iterations of valve designs and deployment approaches.The team has made the leaflet modeling software and 3-D-printing protocol freely available online. They hope their project will serve as a springboard for evolvable biomedical design that keeps pace with the market’s state of the art.“At the core of the personalized medicine challenge is the realization that one medical treatment will not serve all patients equally well, and that therapies should be tailored to the individual,” said Wyss Institute Founding Director Donald Ingber, who is also the Judah Folkman Professor of Vascular Biology at Harvard Medical School and the Vascular Biology Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, as well as professor of bioengineering at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “This principle applies to medical devices as well as drugs, and it is exciting to see how our community is innovating in this space and attempting to translate new personalized approaches from the lab and into the clinic.”Additional authors of the paper include Joshua Dilley from Massachusetts General Hospital; Tatiana Kelil, an assistant professor at University of California, San Francisco, and former resident at Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Moses Mathur of the University of Washington Medical Center; and Mason Dean of the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Germany.This research was supported by the Human Frontier Science Program.last_img read more

Vikas Krishan gears up for World Championships

first_imgAlmost a year back, Vikas Krishan became the cynosure of all eyes when he won a gold in the 60kg category at the Asian Games, ending India’s 12-year drought of an Asiad gold medal in boxing.But as he prepares for the World Championships, starting from Thursday in Baku, Azerbaijan, he has an uphill task to prove his mettle in the 69kg category.The world meet poses the fiercest competition after the Olympics and odds are against Krishan. The 19-year-old catapulted to the new category (69kg) in which he is yet to be tested.Many consider his style of counter-attack as a suicidal, especially in the current scoring system, which clearly favours the aggressive boxers. But the 2010 world youth champion Krishan has not been weighed down by the odds. In fact, he is unnerved by the magnitude of the challenge he is going to face at the Worlds.”World Championships will be my biggest tournament till date. New category and tough competition will pose a big challenge but I have gone through similar situations in the past. I am sure I won’t be nervous or anxious at the World Championships and will give it my best shot,” said a confident Krishan, who is currently training with the Indian team for the mega event near Nice, France.”I was a novice when I was crowned the world youth champion. My first tournament in the senior category was at the Asian Games and I emerged triumphant. The level of competition at the World Championships is very high but it’s not impossible to win a medal there,” he told Mail Today. The World Championships are also the first qualifier for the London Olympics and 10 boxers from the 69kg category will qualify for the event.advertisementStrategy ProblemKrishan’s strategy drew flak during the Asian Games as he was criticised for being extra defensive against the then defending champion Qing Hu of China in the final. Despite that, Krishan won but Hu blamed him of being too negative.Krishan, however, justified his decision and said his strategy was apt to the old scoring system.Despite the new scoring system, which generally favours those with aggressive tactics, in place, Krishan remains unperturbed and insists he is working on towards improving his style.”My natural style is counterattack and I can’t change it overnight. So I am opening my guard more and also working on quick footwork during the practice.”I have Vijender and Kuldeep as the sparring partners. Both compete in the middleweight (75kg) and are known for their power-punches. Sparring with them will help me when I face strong contenders,” said the Bhiwani boxer.Lack of exposureThe biggest drawback, Krishan faced post Asian Games was the limited exposure he got. An invitational tournament in Cuba in May has been his only international event. So, the training in France is practically his only outing as a build up to the Worlds. The boxer said he wants to utilise the opportunity to the fullest.”The atmosphere in France and Baku is almost same, so the training will help us acclimatise to the conditions in Baku. Also, we will get sparring partners from other countries. It will help us understand their game as some of them could compete in Baku,” he said.”As far lack of exposure is concerned, I did well at the Asian Games, perhaps because my opponents were unaware about my game and they failed to gauge it in time. I think the same can work for me at the World Championships as well,” said an optimistic Krishan.last_img read more

First Nations deserve revenues from resources Atleo

first_imgAPTN National NewsAssembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo has been talking about holding a meeting with the Crown for quite some time.And he got his wish Tuesday.But, was the outcome everything Atleo hoped for?APTN National News anchor Michael Hutchinson sat down with the national chief for an interview in Ottawa.last_img

Man in 40s killed at construction site

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppBahamas, March 21, 2017 – Nassau – Wailing relatives could be seen at the construction site after getting news that their relative was shot dead; the newest murder is a man in his 40s who Police say was specifically targeted by a lone gunman who came to the site on Tonique Williams Darling Highway, killed the construction worker and then ran off.  Police say the murdered man had been in and out of trouble with the law.   The shooting happened around 2pm and no other employee working on the new post office was troubled.Just hours before, the country learned the identities of those two young teenage boys, gunned down, execution style in Yellow Elder Gardens.   The horrific situation begged the question, what could have inspired a person or people to take the lives of 13 year old KeishonWilliams of Plantol Street and 15 year old Davonte Lindsay of Knowles Drive.The boys were found on a track road off Graham Drive on Sunday morning by residents, who called Police.#MagneticMediaNews#mankilledatconstructionsite#teenboysfoundshottodeath#KeishonWilliams#DavonteLindsay Related Items:#DavonteLindsay, #KeishonWilliams, #magneticmedianews, #mankilledatconstructionsite, #teenboysfoundshottodeathlast_img read more

Few drinks may change how memories are formed

first_imgJust a few drinks in an evening may change how memories are formed at the fundamental, molecular level, a study suggests. One of the many challenges with battling alcohol addiction and other substance abuse disorders is the risk of relapse, even after progress towards recovery, said researchers from Brown University in the US. Even pesky fruit flies have a hankering for alcohol, and because the molecular signals involved in forming flies’ reward and avoidance memories are much the same as those in humans, they are a good model for study. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe study, published in the journal Neuron, in flies found that alcohol hijacks this memory formation pathway and changes the proteins expressed in the neurons, forming cravings. Researchers uncovered the molecular signalling pathways and changes in gene expression involved in making and maintaining reward memories. “One of the things I want to understand is why drugs of abuse can produce really rewarding memories when they’re actually neurotoxins,” said Karla Kaun, an assistant professor at Brown University. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveLed by Emily Petruccelli, who is now an assistant professor at Southern Illinois University in the US, the team used genetic tools to selectively turn off key genes while training the flies where to find alcohol. This enabled them to see what proteins were required for this reward behaviour. One of the proteins responsible for the flies’ preference for alcohol is Notch, the researchers found. Notch is the first “domino” in a signalling pathway involved in embryo development, brain development and adult brain function in humans and all other animals. Molecular signalling pathways are not unlike a cascade of dominos – when the first domino falls (in this case, the biological molecule activates), it triggers more that trigger more and so on. One of the downstream dominos in the signalling pathway affected by alcohol is a gene called dopamine-2-like receptor, which makes a protein on neurons that recognises dopamine, the “feel-good” neurotransmitter. “The dopamine-2-like receptor is known to be involved in encoding whether a memory is pleasing or aversive,” Petruccelli said. Alcohol hijacks this conserved memory pathway to form cravings. In the case of the alcohol reward pathway studied, the signalling cascade didn’t turn the dopamine receptor gene on or off, or increase or decrease the amount of protein made, Kaun said. Instead, it had a subtler effect – it changed the version of the protein made by a single amino acid “letter” in an important area. “We don’t know what the biological consequences of that small change are, but one of the important findings from this study is that scientists need to look not only at which genes are being turned on and off, but which forms of each gene are getting turned on and off,” Kaun said. “We think these results are highly likely to translate to other forms of addiction, but nobody has investigated that,” she said. Kaun is working with John McGeary, assistant professor at Brown, to look at DNA samples from patients with alcohol abuse disorders to see if they have genetic polymorphisms in any of the craving-related genes discovered in flies. “If this works the same way in humans, one glass of wine is enough to activate the pathway, but it returns to normal within an hour,” Kaun said. “After three glasses, with an hour break in between, the pathway doesn’t return to normal after 24 hours. We think this persistence is likely what is changing the gene expression in memory circuits,” said Kaun. “Just something to keep in mind the next time you split a bottle of wine with a friend or spouse,” she said.last_img read more