New portable machine may accurately detect concussions

first_imgWashington, Apr 3 (PTI) Scientists have developed an inexpensive, ultraportable machine that provides fast, objective feedback on an athletes balance disruption following a suspected concussion.The balance board called BTrackS is twice as effective as the most widely used balance test for concussion in US, researchers said.Impaired balance is one of the major symptoms of a recent concussion. Most governing bodies in sports recommend three testing components in a concussion protocol: physical symptoms, cognitive function and balance.For the balance portion, most sports organisations use what is known as the BESS (Balance Error Scoring System) test.Research suggests that the BESS test accurately catches a concussion about 30 per cent of the time, according to San Diego State University (SDSU) kinesiologist Dann Goble, inventor of BTrackS and first author on the study.”The problem with the BESS is that it is really unreliable. Often you will get different scoring results from different people watching the same athlete go through the protocol,” said Goble.You can measure balance objectively using force plates that track precisely how much a person sways, but most of these devices are either very large, very expensive, or both, making them unlikely to gain traction in sports.Goble has adapted this technology into a balance board about the size of a suitcase that plugs into a computer or laptop, all for under USD 1,000.To test whether the technology could accurately detect concussions in a real-world environment, Goble and colleagues took baseline balance measurements from more than 500 athletes competing in a variety of sports, including football, rugby, lacrosse, soccer, basketball and water polo.advertisementThen they followed those athletes over the course of their season.If a player sustained a head injury, trainers measured their balance using BTrackS and compared the new score to the baseline score.If the new sway score was on average more than 5 centimetres higher than baseline, then Gobles system predicts a balance disruption indicative of concussion.Athletes also received follow-up care from a physician who could reliably diagnose whether they were concussed or not.Of 25 athletes determined by a team physician to have received concussions, BTrackS detected 16 of them, giving Gobles technology a success rate of 64 per cent – more than twice that of the BESS test.The research was published in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. PTI SAR SARlast_img read more

Did Europeans Get Fat From Neandertals

Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe In the latest study, published online today in Nature Communications, Khaitovich and his international team analyzed the distribution of Neandertal gene variants in the genomes of 11 populations from Africa, Asia, and Europe. They found that Europeans inherited three times as many genes involved in lipid catabolism, the breakdown of fats to release energy, from Neandertals as did Asians. (As expected, Africans did not carry any of these Neandertal variants.) The difference in the number of Neandertal genes involved with lipid processing was “huge,” Khaitovich says. The study also offers another example of the lingering genetic legacy left in some people today by the extinct Neandertals.While the team doesn’t know the function of those Neandertal gene variants, it began to search for their influence by examining brain tissue from the prefrontal cortex of 14 adults of European, African, and Asian descent, as well as 14 chimpanzees. Although Khaitovich thinks that the Neandertal genes affect the composition of fat throughout the body, the researchers focused on brain tissue first because it contains so many fatty acids—and was available from a brain tissue bank. “There is no [body fat] tissue bank for different populations,” he says.The team found that Europeans had differences in the concentration of various fatty acids in the brain that were not found in Asians or chimpanzees, which suggests they had evolved recently. The Europeans also showed differences in the function of enzymes that are known to be involved with the metabolism of fat in the brain.Now the team is trying to figure out what the fatty acids do in the brain and how differences in their concentration might affect function. “We think it’s a very strong effect with very profound physiological changes,” Khaitovich says. “Otherwise, we wouldn’t see it in the brain tissue.”He suspects that these fatty acid genes were advantageous for modern humans and may have helped Neandertals and, later, Europeans adapt to colder environments. The gene variants may have boosted metabolism, perhaps helping Europeans and Neandertals break down fat more rapidly to get energy to survive in colder climates in northern Europe. The findings also show how one type of human could take an evolutionary shortcut and inherit an advantageous gene from another group through “introgression,” or interbreeding, rather than spend tens of thousands of years evolving a way to adapt to a new habitat themselves. Today, though, these fatty acids are also implicated in diseases that are part of the so-called “metabolic syndrome”—obesity, diabetes (through the metabolism of sugars), high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease (through the metabolism of cholesterol and triglycerides), the authors say.“Clearly much more has to be done on the functionality of this, but it’s tempting to think it’s linked with some of the differences in sugar metabolism that have been picked up already,” writes paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London, who is not a member of the team, in an e-mail. “Neandertals might have had adaptations to get through the stress of northern winters that moderns could pick up through introgression.” Neandertals and modern Europeans had something in common: They were fatheads of the same ilk. A new genetic analysis reveals that our brawny cousins had a number of distinct genes involved in the buildup of certain types of fat in their brains and other tissues—a trait shared by today’s Europeans, but not Asians. Because two-thirds of our brains are built of fatty acids, or lipids, the differences in fat composition between Europeans and Asians might have functional consequences, perhaps in helping them adapt to colder climates or causing metabolic diseases.“This is the first time we have seen differences in lipid concentrations between populations,” says evolutionary biologist Philipp Khaitovich of the CAS-MPG Partner Institute for Computational Biology in Shanghai, China, and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, lead author of the new study. “How our brains are built differently of lipids might be due to Neandertal DNA.”Ever since researchers at the Max Planck sequenced the genome of Neandertals, including a super high-quality genome of a Neandertal from the Altai Mountains of Siberia in December, researchers have been comparing Neandertal DNA with that of living people. Neandertals, who went extinct 30,000 years ago, interbred with modern humans at least once in the past 60,000 years, probably somewhere in the Middle East. Because the interbreeding happened after moderns left Africa, today’s Africans did not inherit any Neandertal DNA. But living Europeans and Asians have inherited a small amount—1% to 4% on average. So far, scientists have found that different populations of living humans have inherited the Neandertal version of genes that cause diabetes, lupus, and Crohn’s disease; alter immune function; and affect the function of the protein keratin in skin, nails, and hair. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email read more