Saturday, February 28, 2015

Cytokines and Myalgic Encephalitis

A study led by Dr. Mady Hornig director of translational research at the Center for Infection and Immunity and associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia's Mailman School on cytokines and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) is reported in Science Advances

ME is also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

The study was received for publication 19 November 2014, and accepted for publication 6 February 2015.

We report here distinct alterations in plasma immune signatures early in the course of ME/CFS (n = 52) relative to healthy controls (n = 348) that are not present in subjects with longer duration of illness (n = 246). Analyses based on disease duration revealed that early ME/CFS cases had a prominent activation of both pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines as well as dissociation of intercytokine regulatory networks. We found a stronger correlation of cytokine alterations with illness duration than with measures of illness severity, suggesting that the immunopathology of ME/CFS is not static. These findings have critical implications for discovery of interventional strategies and early diagnosis of ME/CFS.

The progress in the conduct of the study was reported on April 22, 2014 in Pheonix Rising, a site that supports patients with ME.

Dr. W. Ian Lipkin, director of the Center for Infection and Immunity and professor of neurology and pathology at Columbia’s Mailman School, is reported as saying:

This study delivers what has eluded us for so long: unequivocal evidence of immunological dysfunction in ME/CFS and diagnostic biomarkers for disease.

As the headlines in the popular press are reporting, this study provides robust’ evidence that ME is a physical illness.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Foundation Framework - WordPress

I read an article in WP Tavern on WordPress themes based on the Foundation Framework. The article is from November 2013 and I followed a link through to the Swiss theme maker for one of the themes and I saw a notice on the home page that said 'We discontinue development of the required+ Foundation theme – here is why.'
tl;dr; We switched to _s and a custom grid system and therefore don’t use Zurb Foundation anymore. The docs will stay available until 2015, feel free to fork the project on Github. It’s been quite the journey and we learned a lot maintaining the required+ Foundation theme and it’s assets. We are grateful for all the people helping and using required+ Foundation as their WordPress base theme. Instead of releasing a version that we don’t use internally, we finally decided to discontinue required+ Foundation. This decision wasn’t easy and we tried to free some time for the project, but had to realise that it’s best to discontinue the project instead of letting you wait in limbo any longer. Thanks again for the support and understanding – Silvan & the required+ team
One of the commenters asked "I am curious as to why you switched to _s and a custom grid. What was not working for you with Foundation?" and the reply was "We ended up kicking out more and more styles and javascripts shipped with Foundation for most of our WP projects. _s gives us the the headstart needed and is now available as a SASS version too." ______________ In a free world, that is always the risk - that something the appears to be a good foundation upon which to build will peter out and be left siting on a disused track overgrown with weeds.

Mosul Libraries

The Independent newspaper reports today
Isis militants have reportedly ransacked Mosul library, burning over a hundred thousand rare manuscripts and documents spanning centuries of human learning. Initial reports said approximately 8,000 books were destroyed by the extremist group. However, AL RAI’s chief international correspondent Elijah J. Magnier told The Independent that a Mosul library official believes as many as 112, 709 manuscripts and books, some of which were registered on a UNESCO rarities list, are among those lost.
I'm going to follow this story and see how it develops.